Friday, April 30, 2010

Presidential Papers

Unintended consequences of the new AZ Immigration law LOL:

Seriously, I have been going back and forth on this legislation, and I am still not convinced it is this big 3rd Reich boogie man the Left is making it out to be. But there is legitimate concern regarding enforcement and the pressure, specifically as it relates to litigation for failure to enforce, that should cause ones eyes to open wider.

Boots on the ground share their frustrations:
in a city less than an hour's drive from the Mexican border, Charlton and his fellow officers suddenly are at the center of a roiling immigration debate, and Arizona's new and controversial immigration law is almost certain to transform how they do their job.

"We're way too busy," Charlton said of the law's requirement that police officers question anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. "We don't have enough officers on the street to look for other stuff like that. If they're not doing anything, they're just being normal people. Why would I do that?"

. . .

"We are in a tenuous position as law enforcement," Tucson Police Chief Roberto A. Villaseñor said, noting that the law allows citizens to sue police agencies that do not enforce it. "No matter which way we go, there are lawsuits in the wings. The ones who are going to get beaten up on this most are the law enforcement agencies."

. . .

The day after the Arizona legislature approved the bill, the police headquarters was flooded with phone calls. A typical complaint, according to Villaseñor, was this: "Hey, there are some Mexicans standing on the corner? You need to check them out."

The police chief considered the requests "ridiculous" because "a lot of people stand on street corners." Villaseñor, a Tucson native who joined the police force in 1980 and became chief last year, said he understands the frustrations but objects to the law on several levels.

"Too many vagaries," he said. He said that he doubts there is a law officer "anywhere in the state of Arizona" who can accurately describe how to enforce the measure and that he fears it will lead to racial profiling, despite the law's prohibition of the practice.
And it is the 'vagaries' that concern me as well. Certainly there will be training, and the bill attempted to limit 'racial profiling' and other unlawful contact situations. The law becomes active 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature, so there is time for this to work itself out.

Here is a PDF of the bill. Be sure you quote specific text if you want to argue against this legislation. Many opponents think that a cop can and will walk up to someone just because of the color of their skin. Nothing in the law allows for that, and in fact, specifically prohibits it.
The attorney general or county
attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race
I understand the need to regain control of our porous borders, but not at the expense of the rights of citizens who are here legally and lawfully. I'll continue to educate myself on this issue as I try to reconcile the realities being shared by both side of the aisle.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reasonable Suspicion -vs- Probable Cause RE: AZ SB 1070

OK, I’ve read the bill, and it seems both sides are making political hay, here. But maybe an esteemed attorney out there can help me. Here is the clause that makes me very uncomfortable about this legislation:
So what is the difference between ‘reasonable suspicion’ and “probable cause”.

Is someone who is Hispanic, living near the border, and legally and lawfully here, going to be subject to unlawful search and seizure because as a Latino near the border that is enough for ‘reasonable suspicion’?

I can understand in times of economic tumult, we need to make sure that those here, taking jobs, are here legally and lawfully and certainly not displacing legal and lawful employees who are waiting to work.

Marty Seifert was wise to not embrace this law and only saw it as a ’step in the right direction’ I am not sure that is necessarily the case, either.

So someone define for me ‘reasonable suspicion’ and explain to me why a legal and lawful citizen in AZ now should carry a passport and/or birth certificate just to prove their citizenship in the state the live in.


of Bill SB1070:

From the Senate AZ Fact Sheet:

1. Requires a reasonable attempt to be made to determine the immigration status of a person during any legitimate contact made by an official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or political subdivision (political subdivision) if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.

2. Requires the person’s immigration status to be verified with the federal government pursuant to federal law.

3. Requires an alien unlawfully present in the U.S. who is convicted of a violation of state or local law to be transferred immediately to the custody of ICE or Customs and Border Protection, on discharge from imprisonment or assessment of any fine that is imposed.

4. Allows a law enforcement agency to securely transport an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S. and who is in the agency’s custody to:

a) a federal facility in this state or

b) any other point of transfer into federal custody that is outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency.

5. Allows a law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the U.S.

6. Prohibits officials or agencies of the state and political subdivisions from being prevented or restricted from sending, receiving or maintaining an individual’s immigration status information or exchanging that information with any other governmental entity for the following official purposes:

a) determining eligibility for any public benefit, service or license provided by any federal, state, local or other political subdivision of this state;

b) verifying any claim of residence or domicile if that verification is required under state law or a judicial order issued pursuant to a civil or criminal proceeding in the state;

c) confirming a detainee’s identity; and

d) if the person is an alien, determining whether the person is in compliance with federal alien registration laws.

7. Disallows officials or agencies of the state or political subdivisions from adopting or implementing policies that limit immigration enforcement to less than the full extent permitted by federal law, and allows a person to bring an action in superior court to challenge an official or agency that does so.

8. Requires the court, if there is a judicial finding that an entity has committed a violation, to order any of the following:

a) that the plaintiff recover court costs and attorney fees;

b) that the defendant pay a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 for each day that the policy has remained in effect after the filing of the action.

9. Requires the court to collect and remit the civil penalty to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which must establish a special subaccount for the monies in the account established for the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) appropriation.

10. Specifies that law enforcement officers are indemnified by their agencies against reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred by the officer in connection with any action, suit or proceeding brought pursuant to this statute to which the officer may be a party by reason of the officer being or having been a member of the law enforcement agency, except in relation to matters in which the officer is adjudged to have acted in bad faith.

Happy Birthday, Mike - RIP!

We will be visiting our good friend Mike Fanaris, today, who passed away a few years ago WAY before his time. Mike would have been 46.

After a brief stop at Mound Cemetery in Brooklyn Center, we'll venture to Rock Bottom where we will tell stories and reminisce

Happy Birthday, brother!


CLICK to View:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recovery in a Cup

Another indicator that the economic recovery is in process, via the PiPress:
The pee cup is starting to look half full.

First-quarter financial results from New Brighton-based Medtox Scientific and two other lab companies that process pre-employment drug tests suggest there's a promising trickle of hiring in the U.S.

And reports from the trenches — medical clinics that administer the tests — suggest the same.

"It's as though someone flipped a switch," said Jim Sebesta, vice president for business development at Twin Cities Occupational Health & Rehabilitation, which conducts tests at clinics in Mendota Heights and Blaine. "Clearly, employers are hiring."

From January to March, Medtox Scientific saw its first year-over-year increase in sales of drug testing services since 2008.
The small 'l' Libertarian in me has issues with drug testing, its inaccuracies and inconsistencies, but that is a post for another day. For now, any sign that the economy is continuing its recovery is good news for me, and you would think good news for all.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Speaker Kelliher, Endorsee

Congratulations to Speaker Kelliher for her gutty victory on Saturday:
DULUTH - In a night of high emotion and tactical maneuvering, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher won a fierce DFL endorsement contest on Saturday, moving a step closer to becoming Minnesota's first female governor.

In a grueling day of battling over delegates, Kelliher triumphed over rival Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak after vanquishing a slew of other candidates.
However, as we know, and Chris Cillizza points out, this is only the preliminary round:
Kelliher's work is not done, however. Neither former Sen. Mark Dayton nor former state House Minority Leader Matt Entenza participated in the convention process, choosing instead to run in the Aug. 10 Democratic primary.
Add to that asterisks County Attorney Gaertner, perennial Ole Savior, and Podcaster Peter Idusogie, and we have a crowded field for the August Primary.

I was a leans Rukavina going in, and if he ends up on someones ticket that is the candidate I will look closest at. But I don;t see that happening. Looks like he is going to run for his legislative seat and focus on his Iron Range roots.

Here is my dilemma, we can;t tax our way out of this mess, and we can't cut our way out either. The Right is holding fast on a no new tax mantra (Well, the faux titled 'Fiscal Responsibility Pledge' this time), and although the Left has a more balanced approach, they insists there is nothing left to cut. Now I agree there are areas where we are chipping at marrow, and bring cutting to the bone, but I still think there is waste to be found.

The state can't go through 4 more years of the same policies that have gutted the very budget items that made Minnesota great. We need to find balance in our solutions, and whoever can show me they are willing to make the tough choices, and find the correct balance, will earn my support.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


As a member of the staff at Washington Technology Magnet Middle school, I am deeply effected by the proposed changes and budget cuts within ISD 625 (St. Paul Public Schools). This isn't the first time I have been bitten by the budget bug. You may recall that I was once a member of the EXPO Middle (later changed to Wilson) program that fell victim to the axe back in '04. I shared my frustration back then, and even included alternate solutions. But the district moved on, spending a dollar to save a dime. Now the tough decisions have to m be made, and it looks like the new Superintendent is not afraid to make them.

First, the top heavy administration is getting streamlined, a long overdue process that is a must in order to add credibility to the budget process. How can you slice and dice academic programs while preserving multi level admins at the White Ivory tower on Colborne. The Super put a stop to that:
The Superintendent announced her plan to restructure the District. In her presentation the superintendent indicated that as the District prepare for a new school year with fewer dollars and continued high expectations for student achievement, we must refocus our energy and resources for future success. "Given our fiscal picture I will regrettably have to eliminate the positions of some wonderful leaders," Supt. Silva said. "In other cases, I will create new positions or redefine existing positions as we continue to refocus our work. In either case, my goal is to ensure that we have staff in place to implement the strategies we believe will propel our students to even greater gains."

In an attempt to realign district leadership to reduce fragmentation, increase accountability and create a coordinated team to implement the superintendent's 2010-2015 work plan and goals, Supt. Silva has made several major changes. The new organization structure is projected to save as much as $945,000. The superintendent also point out that this is only the beginning of central administrative cuts. More positions will be eliminated once departments and schools finalize their budgets.Those reductions will be identified by the end of April or first week in May.
A million dollar savings beginning with the elimination of 8 central administration positions. I had always said I would find it difficult to support further referendum if significant cuts in admin didn't take place. I am finally seeing what should have happened years ago.

Along with the admin cuts, several programs will be consolidated or co-located. And the most controversial of the proposal as is the closing of Arlington Senior high Program, but not the building. A domino effect will take place as my program, the Washington Technology Magnet Middle School will take its BioSmart curriculum and move to the Arlington site to rebrand the building. See, the Arlington program has been struggling for some time, and with that tumult, came declining enrollment and a stigma that could not be overcome. By having a clean break from the former, and moving the successful Washington Program to this newer building, the district can capitalize on one of its newer assets, and create a Washington Technology Secondary Program, which in the end will serve 7 - 12 grade students. It is somewhat of a surprise that this resident cynic of the district is fully supportive of this transition, and recognizes that the positives outweigh the concerns being expressed by current Arlington community members.

The burgeoning Paul and Sheila Wellstone School will transition to the Washington Building site, with all the new upgrades and remodels that are in place. It will allow for the continued use of this state of the art building and allow the Welsstone school to continue its growth.

These are tough decisions in difficult times. There was passionate community input last night that clearly was heard by the Board. But now leadership must take the place of emotion. I don't envy the Board, or the new Super, but it is refreshing that they understand they need to make long term transitional moves, and not be caught up in the emotions. That's called leadership, something that hasn't always been a part of the St. Paul School Board. Now it is front and center. I applaud their courage.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

"98 percent of Americans got a tax cut last year"

For 98% of Americans, your taxes dropped, plain and simple. And for those who think the GOP is the tax cut party, the party of 'No' voted as a block, against these cuts.

What Happened in 2009?

One third of the Recovery Act was made up of tax credits, the White House emphasizes.

"No one I've met is looking for a handout," Mr. Obama said in his address Saturday. "And that's not what these tax cuts are. Instead, they're targeted relief to help middle class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy, and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream -- making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family -- back within reach for millions of Americans."

The credits included:

* An increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit
* An expansion of the Child Tax Credit
* For those who work, the Making Work Pay tax credit offered $400 per individual and $800 per couple
* For those who lost their job, there was a 65 percent tax credit to help cover the cost of health care. The first $2,400 in unemployment benefits went tax-free
* Up to $2,500 under the American Opportunity Credit for students and parents paying for college tuition
* $8,000 for first-time home buyers
* A deduction of state and local taxes paid on a new car
* Up to $1,500 for home improvements to increase energy efficiency

Even conservative advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, which advocates for a single, national flat tax rate, found some praise for the Recovery Act -- specifically for provisions allowing small businesses to write off a wider range of business expenses.

More generally, "all tax relief has the minimum value of depriving the government of revenue," Americans for Tax Reform's tax policy director Ryan Ellis said.
Posted for those who care about turth and reality!


BathrooMageddon; Done, Done

Some minor tweaks left, but we're calling it DONE. Turned out even more amazing than I thought.
Plumbing, Tile labor (tub surround only, flooring was all my baby), and Glass Block Window Build was contracted out.

Everything else we did on our own from Demo to final finishing work including building Window Rough-in and outside stucco path and framing. Based on initial general contractor bids, we figure we save between $4000 and $5000 doing a lot of the labor ourselves.
And the final product, simply beautiful. And the final verdict from the lovely Mrs. Flash is nothing short of complete satisfaction. And when Momma's happy, everyone is happy *smile*

Tomorrow I fly out to Biden Country (Scranton PA) for Spring Drum Corp meetings of the international association, but back by the 10:00 news Saturday PM. Full political sniping will resume Monday!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RUSH - Time Machine - ROW 6

BEST SEATS EVER for me at a RUSH event

Section PLZ1 (Floor Center), Row 6, Seats (18, 19)

Last time I was that close was the back to back Met Center shows in 1984 for the Grace Under Pressure tour/ 7th Row and 9th Row.

I'm pumped . . here's wishing my Summer away, again!


The Opener - Yes, I Was there!

Yes, I made it in. It was was more a hope, than a plan, and Karma has a way of paying you back, in this case, in a positive way.

I did work my full day, trading EMails with my good friend the Doctor. He was tapped to entertain some brokers, and I was jealous. The plan was for me to go home after work, lay the tile trim on the bottom of the tub so it could cure, and then meet up with Doc after the game at Rock.

The tiling went quick, and I found myself venturing downtown around 4:15. There was no rush hour traffic to speak of, unusual for this time of day during the week. I decided to go straight to the stadium, to experience the ambiance and see if there was some cheap seats available now that the game was well on its way.

There was quite the crown outside the stadium, peering through the Home Run Deck (left), and as expected not a tick in site or a scalper in view. I did a complete walk around, but all I got out of that was some good exercise. I opted to go back to the Home run deck and wait it out. In the past they would lighten up around the 7th inning stretch and I felt that was by best chance to get in for a peek at the ball park. It was about the 5th inning, and then it happened.

A couple came walking out of the gate and the lovely lady fanned a pair of tickets: "Would you like these" as she looked at me.

I smiled and said, "sure".

I tucked these souvies into my pocket to put on my ticket wall in the garage. I was certain they were their tickets, that they didn't need anymore and thought nothing of it. It wasn't a few seconds later I felt a tap on the shoulder, it was her again.

"You know, those tickets have never been used"

"WOW, really?!? I said as she smiled and walked away

Now I didn't know what to think, but worst case scenario is that security at the gate could do nothing more than tell me "nice try" if they didn't work, so to the gate I went.

I was greeted with a "How are you doing" and my response was "We'll see in a moment"

Hitting my ticket with the scanner he then looked up and said "You're good to go, to which I replied, and now I ma GREAT!

I was handed a Homer Hanky, an official certificate of attendance to the inaugural opener and there I stood, in awe, of the new facility. I couldn't believe my luck and took advantage of my new found success by doing a complete lap around the inside of the ball park. First I went to my actual seats (right), just in time to witness Kubel's Home run, the first ever at the park. I was sitting right under Minne and Paul, so say the light show, significantly washed out by the bright sun, but I was there.

After the inning was complete I walked along the back deck and purchased my first Big Dog (left, yes, the actual dog I bought), the Dome Dog replacement. It was big and yummy!

I continued my loop, eventually settling into a a seat on the aisle up from the visitors' dugout on the 3rd base line. Here I watched Jon Rauch complete the close (right), of the first ever regular season game at Target Field.

All the pics I took can be found here. All I had on me was my Samsung Instinct Cell phone, but not bad I guess.

I win for the ages, a ball park for the fans, and the time of my life, that just fell into my lap, totally unexpected. I think it was Karma payback for giving up my Spring Break to work on the bathroom . . . or just blind luck!


PS: As for the Doc, he had a problem with his tickets and went through the other extreme, an almost there but unable to get in situation. He'll have to tell that story

Monday, April 12, 2010


Trim work and Medicine Cabinet/Light install is on the docket for this evening. Final after shots sometime Wednesday after fixtures are in place. But with any luck, my work is done this evening. Well, as 'done' as any money pit project can be LOL


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Are Government Jobs, Bad?

The Right loves to attack 'Big Gummint' and the recent volley is an attempt to dilute the most positive Jobs reports since the horror of the Bush administration. The cry out 'But 48,000 are just temporary Census workers. This got me to thinking, what do these 'Gummint' workers do with their pay checks. If you listen to a Tea Partiers, you would think these public sectors employees put their paychecks through the shredders or cash them to stuff their mattresses.

I'm a public sector employee, employed by the local School district, but I spend money as needed, when needed, and borrow as necessary. Take the recent Bathroom Remodel. My Public Sector Paycheck is dolling out over $8,000 in the Minnesota Economy, almost $7,000 alone in good old fashion trade Labor with the experts at Artisan Plumbing. I'll have spent close to $1000 at the local Menards/Home Depot working with the staffing there to get the right tools and materials. I'll use my Big Card to further engage other employees at their financial center. Soon I'll be dumping another $600 on a skilled Tiling craftsman, putting funds in his pocket, to be spread around the economy.

Big 'Gummint' brings its own set of issues, but in times of economic strife, putting money in the hands of those who will spend it is the rudimentary necessity to get us out of this economic tumult. To condemn folks for creating, seeking and/or finding gainful employment, especially if it happens to be in the Public sector is simply being ignorant of how basic economics works.

Even in 2004, following Two Term President Bush's election, I sucked it up and did my part to help the economy along. So I ask, what have YOU done to assist in getting this economy back on track.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Reconstruction Man

The Good News, we are in 'put together mode'; Bad News, I still have rocking, then mudding and taping left. Probably won't be tiling till later in the week. But that's OK, we are committed to doing it right, not fast. The almost 100 year old house has brought its set of challenges to to the table, but we've dealt with each of them in the best way possible. I am confident that the blemishes will only add character, and only be noticed by us.

Here is a before, and current status shot of the fixture wall. See, it's coming along.

By next week, we hope to have final photos. Here's hoping.


Friday, April 02, 2010


As predicted, the Economy is revving up:
NEW YORK ( -- The economy had its biggest jump in jobs in three years in March, according to a government report released Friday.

The Labor Department said the economy gained 162,000 jobs in the month, compared to a revised reading of a 14,000 job loss in February. That makes March only the third month since the start of 2008 that employers did not cut payrolls.
A picture is worth a thousand words:
The obstructionist party has backed themselves into such a corner they can claim no credit, nor take any part in the successes. They were rooting for failure, remember. I hope the party in power reminds the electorate of that every day leading up to the midterms!


PS: Bathroom is taking shape! We are well past destruction mode and are now in reconstruction. Here is a picture of the window progressions as we re-opened a covered window rough-in and are dropping in a glass block window this afternoon (Window's in, picture updated):