I have now identified with certainty why we as a society, as a nation, as a state, are becoming increasingly disengaged from the process of making good public policy. Continue reading
Republican lawmakers at the state and federal level want us to believe that they are the only ones interested in or capable of identifying and eliminating regulations that thwart job growth and business expansion, but the story about Wayzata’s liquor license ordinance provides evidence that many of our “stupid regulations” (Ronald Reagan term, as quoted in Drift by Rachel Maddow) exist at the local level. In other words, stories like this give Republican lawmakers anecdotal evidence that we have a lot of “stupid regulations” on the books but removing them from the books does not require a Republican lawmaker to come in and save the day. All it requires is for someone to point out that really misguided, “stupid regulations” punish the business owner for choices that customers make.
A Star Tribune article, (“Wayzata restaurants await loosened liquor-sales rules” 3/20/13) states that current a Wayzata city ordinance requires food sales in restaurants with liquor licenses to consist of 65 percent of total sales and has been in place since 1988. The new ordinance will relax the requirement to 50 percent. The article doesn’t say how restaurants are punished that don’t always reach that threshold but the article does imply that thresholds above 50 percent keeps certain restaurant business models from moving or starting up in some communities.
“The change in the ordinance will let us stay in business,” one restaurant owner said. “Without a full bar, we feel that would be difficult for us. We’re just trying to offer to our customers what they ask for.”
In a NPR story broadcast on Morning Edition (RNC Election Report Calls for Minority Outreach, Primary Changes, 3/19/2013), a clip of Jeb Bush’s remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in March is included:
“Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs because those voters feel unloved, unwanted, and unwelcome in our party.”
I was recently reminded of the suicide of Toni Medrano, coined ‘Vodka Mom’ by media mogul Nancy Grace when the story showed up on the Minnpost press release of July 9, 2012, the same day Amy Senser was sentenced to 41 months of prison for two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. Toni Medrano had admitted to allegedly drinking a fifth of vodka before falling asleep and suffocating her baby boy on Nov. 21, 2011. She was charged with two counts of manslaughter in Washington County District Court. She set herself on fire on July 2, 2012 and died five days later. Continue reading
In Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbably, he writes about the Ludic Fallacy. As best as I can summarize it, it seems to be that our inability to think outside the box blinds us to the real world. His example, summarized is when he asks this question of two different (contrived) types of people-the scholarly nerd and the street smart guy:
Assuming the coin is fair, after flipping it for 99 times and getting heads each time, what are the odds that the 100th flip will yield a tail? The scholarly nerd answer: 50 percent since he knows from statistics class that each flip is independent of all the others, if the coin is fair. The street smart guy answer: “I’d say no more than 1 percent of course. You are either full of crap or a pure sucker to buy that ’50 pehcent’ business. The coin gotta be loaded. It can’t be a fair game.” Continue reading
In an NPR story, (January 16, 2013), Whole Foods Founder John Mackey feels compelled to share his opinion about Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) in the middle of patting himself on the back for finding a way to stop selling overfished species of cod and octopus:
“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.” Continue reading
On a recent Sunday (February 19, 2012), my husband and I were on our way to church, an unusual occurrence. We usually don’t go, even more rarely go together, but this was special occasion. The high school age youth group was in charge of the service that day which meant that our son would be participating in leading the service. I thought that might be a good enough excuse to ask my husband to accompany me. He agreed to go.
As we sat at a red light at Old Shakopee Road and France Ave, I noticed a couple waiting to cross the street. We were one or two cars back from the front of the line so I could keep my gaze on the couple without being conspicuous about it. The man was late middle aged, heavy set, of average height, dressed in a disheveled way. He had the facial characteristics of someone with Down’s syndrome, and at first, it wasn’t apparent that the woman shared any form of developmental disability. She too was heavy set and dressed in a way that signaled that thrift shops were her main source of attire.
A letter writer to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (March 1, 2010), who must be a supporter of State Senator David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, makes the conflation that auto insurance is similar/equivalent to health insurance and is insulted that others don’t see the light. Here’s the letter:
Just think about the amount of personal mental energy it takes for people who still consider themselves Republicans to create and then live full time in their alternative version of reality, the amount of energy it takes to deny the actual reality everyone else is living in, to keep up the ruse and then to find others who are willing to believe in the alternative so strongly, they willingly reject all attempts to solve real problems and instead work only to convince people that their alternative version of reality is the only truth.
In a Massachusetts case, an 18 year old was texting while driving, illegal in Minnesota and Massachusetts, and killed a pedestrian. (NPR story, All things Considered, 6/7/12) He was sentenced to one year. Why is it then that the prosecution in Amy Senser’s case will ask for 4 years in a case where there is no proof she was doing anything illegal before she hit and killed Anousone Phanthavong? Continue reading