barbara's blog

My country 'tis of thee

July 04, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

With apologies to Katherine Lee Bates, whose lyrics I intended to post. But something came over me, and I revised them. How's that for arrogant?! Also, no small amount cynical. Chalk it up to Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner et al. Make no mistake. I believe with my whole heart that as flawed as our country is (and it is deeply flawed), it's the best of the best.

Enough with disclaimers.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
Exquisite land and vast.
But as our need morphs into greed,
The beauty cannot last.

O beautiful for open arms
Embracing others who
Seek safety in America
Where walls used to be few.

America! America!
I love you with whole heart.
Let not teabags and racist tags
Destroy your glorious start!

O beautiful for heroes who
Gave up their lives to war.
Who sacrificed believing that
It meant there’d be no more.

America! America!
We need more than one day
For taking pause for you, because
There're lifetimes to repay.

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Three DFL gov candidates: Three different strategies

June 29, 2010 by barbara

(A cross-post written by one of my most trusted liberal thinkers and analysts concerning the MN political landscape. Bottom line: Who's gonna live in the big house and how are they going to get there? barbara)

by Dave Mindeman

So we have a primary coming up in about 6 weeks. So let's talk a bit about the DFL side of the ledger. All signs point to an interesting race with 3 different sets of strategy....and a lot of it is dictated by the new August primary date.

September primaries were held at a time when voters would generally start to pay attention. The State Fair just ended and the kids were back at school. The cabins were close to be closed up for the year and summer vacations were completed.

All bets are off with August.

As I watch things unfold, here is what I perceive as the strategies of each of the three campaigns.....

Mark Dayton

Dayton is really a very methodical politician. He has had a long term plan to be Governor of Minnesota and he has been sticking to it. He avoided a crowded scrum for the endorsement by saying very early on that he would not seek it. And he realized early on that to be the candidate you have to win the primary first. Read on!

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Slick idea

June 23, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

I’ve been thinking, which is always just a little bit dangerous. Especially to those who are willing to listen, engage and talk back.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that there needs to be a community service component attached to the BP disaster. I figure if a kid who TPs a few trees while drinking some lite beer has to do time, the BP thing is exponentially more worthy of recompense.

Here’s my idea.

I’ve been thinking that every day until the oil leak is verifiably stopped for some as yet unnamed but protracted period of time, the BP executives – and by the way, given the company’s world view, BP probably stands for Big People, as opposed to the Small People whose lives they’ve trashed – the dudes and the occasional dudette at the top of the BP food chain should be required to take a daily dip in the Gulf. Full immersion required. Sadly, there is more.

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Any bets?

June 23, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

Quick thought on the fly:

It will not surprise me if Gen. Stanley McChrystal's next career move brings him into close proximity to teabags. Just sayin'.

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Father's Day: Who knows best?

June 20, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

Father’s Day, happy. I wish that for you, whether you’re a dad, child of a dad, spouse or lover of a dad, or watched “Father Knows Best,” and used that as the standard for how a dad might be.

A bittersweet day for barbara. You know, our culture easily (if superficially) acknowledges the anguished relationships that, for some, make Mother’s Day a dicey holiday. Not so much with fathers.

Ah, don’t go away. I’m not going to go all wounded inner child on you. But the day certainly brings to mind my own father, who was a very mixed bag kinda guy.

A farm boy growing up. College grad, D.D.S. U.S. Navy officer, serving during WWII on Guam and Okinawa, among other vacation destinations. An exceptional dentist. Severely smart. Generous to a fault. Alcoholic. There's more.

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Thinker Bell ponders: Dayton or MAK?

June 08, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

I seem to have an uncanny knack for backing the wrong horse and then watching the winner lose the whole magilla and/or trash our country.

So it will not surprise you to know that my whole-hearted support of R.T. Rybak for governor and subsequent developments have left me (and likely many others) with no small amount of PTSD.

For those of you beyond the bounds of Minnesota Wonderland, let me give you some back story. Read on.

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BP = Brazen Powermongers

June 05, 2010 by barbara

Alan Anderson writes

So here we all are, struggling to understand what's happening in the Gulf regarding the huge oil spill. It’s very important to know who the players are and what they represent.

BP (formally British Petroleum and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) is the largest company in Britain. Along with the US CIA, BP was involved in the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran after they nationalized the oil industry without compensating AIOC.

BP has donated more than $5 million to political campaigns since 1990, giving 72% to Republicans and 28% to Democrats. They spent $16 million dollars on lobbyists in 2009. They have been fined three times for safety violations—one of those related to the 2005 explosion in Texas that killed 15 workers and injured 150 more. They were fined $87 million by OSHA and placed on probation. A review of the company found organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the corporation.

Another corporation involved in the Gulf disaster is Houston-based Halliburton, an oil servicing company. Former VP Cheney was their CEO from 1995-2000. Read on.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

June 01, 2010 by barbara

barbara writes

Had an interesting experience on Memorial Day. We visited Fort Snelling National Cemetery. W wanted to “plant” a flag on his uncle’s grave (the uncle who died in Belgium during WWII). Brother G and I wanted to re-find our parents’ grave in that vast sea of identical, precisely placed white headstones. Something like 180,000 of them, I read somewhere. Our father served in the Navy in Guam and Okinawa during WWII.

There was so much traffic approaching the cemetery that multiple police officers were at every intersection from I-494 north, all along 34th Avenue and up Post Road.

We discovered as we neared the uncle’s grave that a major speaking event was in progress. Heard the loud-speaker intro for MN’s senior Senator, Amy Klobuchar (who said that her previous introduction at an event was as Minnesota’s senior citizen, but I digress). Listened to her speak. Joined in the applause.

Next up was Tim (MIA) Pawlenty, who pretty much only shows up when there’s media attention. Heard his opening comment. W, G and I exchanged wordless looks, and walked away, in search of the parent grave.

Rude? Maybe. But for us, there was something akin to 60-cycle hum about the voice of the man who has utterly betrayed living Minnesotans at every opportunity to do so.

Some would say it is not nice to disrespect the governor. I would say that respect must be earned. It was perversely pleasing to turn my back on the man who has turned his back on Minnesota.

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Short term memory loss

May 31, 2010 by barbara

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