Archive for December, 2009


December 31, 2009

    As I sit at the keyboard this morning, the last morning of this century’s first decade, I came up with the decade’s top story. It’s not too difficult to do based on the fact I live in Minnesota, the ground covered in its white blanket until April, the poor little birds at my feeding stations outside my windows, and my backyard temperature at a mild minus 5 degrees. Therefore, I dream of better times. What could be better than baseball, Minnesota Twins baseball?

     The Minnesota Twins were the winningest team in the American League in the 1960’s. Always played good ball. They had better than average pitching and always were a great hitting team. In the mid to late ’60’s, the Twins, under Calvin Griffith, had the highest payroll in the majors! With that being said, Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva didn’t get their first 100K contracts until 1969!

     Jump forward to the present decade. The Twins this whole decade have been in the bottom quarter of total team payroll. Yet, they have managed to win the division several times this decade. They missed the division championship by one game in 2008 when they lost a tie-breaker game to the White Sox, 1 to 0. The game was in Chicago because of a coin toss. Had present rules been in place, the Twins would have hosted the game based on tie-breaker criteria. The Twins this decade, in spite of being handcuffed by salary limitations, had a couple Cy Young Award winners, a couple MVP winners, three batting champions, and numerous Gold Glove winners. This is testimony to the teams excellent scouting and player development programs. They have become the model for the other Major League franchises to follow. Being a small city franchise has other major draw backs. Lack of the “east coast media” spotlight hurts the team’s ability to place players on the All-Star team. It’s killed Ron Gardenhire’s chance to win top manager awards, even though most baseball insiders agree that he is probably the best manager in baseball. The team’s previous general manager, Terry Ryan, did win the top GM award in the early decade once. The present GM, Bill Smith, not so good. But, the trade he pulled off in October, Carlos Gomez for JJ Harty, I think, will prove to be huge. That, of course, is assuming Harty returns to his old form! The other amazing aspect to this team of the decade is the attempt by Bud Selig, MLB commissioner, and owner Carl Pohlad to contract the team out of existence! This followed many failed attempts to sell and/or move the team to North Carolina, New Orleans, or Las Vegas. The next season, the Twins went on to win the division going away. A tribute to the resiliency and grit of this team and manager Gardenhire.

    The Twins lost some key members of the family this decade. Owner Carl Pohlad and his wife, Eloise, beloved superstar Kirby Puckett, radio voice of the Twins since 1961, Herb Carneal, and the best stadium announcer in the history of stadium sports, Bob Casey!

    The Twins start the new decade in a new stadium, Target Field. It’s a state of the art outdoor stadium. However, after a long protracted fight with the cheapest tax payers in the world, Minnesotans, they got it done with out a retractable roof. Can you imagine watching baseball outdoors in Minnesota in April and September and October? This is clearly insane, but we Minnesotans know best! Every other major league sports city seems to get new facilities with far less trouble, and to specs that are correct, i.e, a cover for stadiums in bad climates. But in Minnesota, we know what’s best! Morons! Some will say that prior to the team moving into the Metrodome, they played outdoors at the old Metropolitan Stadium. Well the season is longer now, into the fall, and because of television, the vast majority of games are played under the lights, thus many nights of sub-freezing temperatures. There were several times at the old Met when games were snowed out in April. The Twins have the largest geographical draw area of any team in the majors. It includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Western Wisconsin, and the provinces in Canada of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  People want to be assured a game will be played when traveling such great distances to enjoy Minnesota Twins baseball. From 1982 through last season, the Minnesota Twins have had the best home field advantage of any team in any major league sport! Now, we’ll be starting over. The Twins rosters have always been built around the Metrodome, speed, pitching , and defense. They will continue to preach and teach excellent fielding and pitching, they are usually near the top in the majors in defense and era and fewest walks in pitching stats. They will need to add more power. I think they will adapt.

    Here’s to the Minnesota Twins, the top story of the decade, and to a promising future in their new home!  Thank you.

Cam Obert



December 30, 2009


    I’ m sorry for devoting a third straight day to this topic. Since Monday, I have watched the Fox line up first every night, then watched the MSNBC line up after.  The startling fact is the right-wing attack force, Fox, is relentlessly screaming about the whole torched underwear debacle in Detroit. It has gotten so over the top now, they might as well accuse Obama of rubber stamping the moronic kid’s visa in Lagos, Nigeria!  According to Fox, it was Obama himself, working the security checkpoint at the Amsterdam airport. Because Obama is hell-bent on the total destruction of the United States, he simply waved the kid through onto the plane. The second stringers are working Fox this week as the “intellectual powerhouse” starters, O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, and Van Susteren take time off, I hope to read and research which they generally aren’t known to do, but they do have the usual panels of stupidity on the shows. These right-wing wackos don’t even try to hide or mask their hatred for this President. They lie and make things up to discredit him. The troubling thing is, the people who watch them, believe them! At least conservative Dan Senor tries to make a case based somewhat on the facts. I watched as Jonah Goldberg roasted Senor for being too soft on Obama! They delight in non-stop spewing of hate. I wish one of these idiots would take the time to actually study the topic before opening their yap! It really is making it more and more obvious that it’s the color of the President’s skin that is driving the right-wing insane. All of their counter positions on subjects and legislation don’t really hold water. The stench coming from the wing-nuts on the right is becoming overwhelming. The sad thing is, the main stream conservatives, the Reagan-Eisenhower republicans are starting to fall under the spell. If you think the party of “NO” is bad now, wait until the mid-term campaigns start cranking up.

   All I hear out of Fox and the radio right-wingers is what a disaster this burning underwear episode was and that it’s all Obama’s fault. They turned it into a political football hours after the BVDs were extinguished! The democrats laid off Bush after both 9-1-1 and the guy with the exploding Flourshiems. The right-wingers are screaming that it took Obama 3 days to comment on the torched Jockeys. You need to be reminded that Bush waited 6 days after the guy with the exploding Weegins was caught to comment.  Now the right-wing is yelling about the poor communication in the administration. Apparently trying to get these bureaucracies on the same page is not an easy task. Bush tried and failed. Clinton tried and failed. Obama has had it for 11 months and not been successful with this task. The right’s solution?, fire Janet Napolitano. Oh, they want the U.S. to continue sending in troops around the world to snuff out the terrorist cells located in every country in the world! Very practical, and we do of course, have the money and troop strength to do this. Short of this, they want the U.S. to impose our security standards to every other country’s airports, even though there are only 6 of the full body screening machines operating in the U.S. right now. There are, by the way, over 430 airports in this country. Remember,”WE ARE THE AMERICANS, YOU WILL DO AS WE SAY, AND NOT AS WE DO”!

   MSNBC,  has pretty much covered all news events this week.  There has not been a particular focus on a particular event the whole week. I guess they feel it necessary to report the flaming Hanes story, but also wait until the administration takes action. They have reported on the ire being raised with the right-wing as far as the hot briefs guy goes, being held in a federal prison and to be tried in a criminal court. They claim the smoldering undie guy is an enemy of the state and should be sent to GITMO and tried in a military tribunal. Funny, I guess they forgot the Bush administration tried, convicted, and imprisoned the exploding Air Jordan guy in our criminal courts and he’s been put away for life in a Federal penitentiary. Hmmm, how conveniently their thought processes work!

    The right-wing ultra conservatives will never give President Obama a break on anything and it’s become obvious because they believe he is a muslim extremist who isn’t even a native-born American and who’s sole purpose for being President is to orchestrate the total collapse and overthrow of the United States of America. Ask Congressman Joe Wilson, he’ll tell you. Because of Wilson’s ties and financial support from the Sons of the Confederacy, Obama can’t be trusted because he “ain’t nuthin’ but a uppity niggra who don’t know his place” in our country. I have personal experience with the low country whites in South Carolina. They not what you would call open-minded! Well, with Senator Jim DeMint blocking the approval hearings on a new TSA chief, we still don’t have a person in charge, accountable, for security at our country’s airports. Oh, he’s holding up the process because the nominee is in cahoots with the administration to allow the front line security people working the airports to organize and form a union. That’s right, jeopardize the nation’s security because you are from a right to work repressive state. This gets even better, there are people now talking about DeMint as a republican candidate for president in 2012! We can only hope! Maybe DeMint-Palen? There’s some intellectual power! Wink wink.  Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 29, 2009

   I am sick to my stomach that the republicans are making this failed bombing attempt on the plane the other day a political issue. Immediately Peter King, Pete Hoekstra, and others are screaming bloody murder that it’s all the Obama administration’s fault. There logic is misguided at best or more likely, simply missing.

   How can a guy flying from Amsterdam with a bomb in his shorts, be Obama’s responsibility when he last went through security at the Amsterdam airport? The politics of hate, no, and prejudice in this country are out of control. Why weren’t the republican’s aiming their questions at the security services in Amsterdam or Nigeria? That’s what Napolitano and Homeland Security did. They didn’t place the blame on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or any of the other leaders of the republican party, who were in power on 9/11/2001. Yes, the reaction is stupid, no blankets, pillows, laptops, etc. the last hour of flight nor will you be allowed to go to the restroom in that last hour either.

   Tucker Carlson, the bone-head subbing for the highly enlightened and intelligent Sean Hannity last night suggested the U.S. force the other countries of the world to comply with U.S. airport security standards. Let’s impose our imperialistic power over other sovereign states again! That’s a new tact! God, I can’t believe how stupid and short-sighted these people are. Three or four years ago, there were 34 of the present-day republican Senators that voted against the funding of the high-tech full body scanning machines, a machine that would have detected this guy’s packed package! The funding bill did go down in flames. Thanks McChinless and the rest of you poor misguided republicans in the Senate.

   This is not a political issue. It is a national security issue. It is a diplomatic issue to be dealt with by our State Department and Department of Homeland Security. As long as these loud mouthed republicans keep screaming, it makes the administration’s job more difficult. Foreign leaders read the papers. They are aware of this rift and may try to exploit it for their benefit.

    I’m trying to figure out who is more clueless about this situation, the republican politicians or the wing-nut pundits from the right. They need to shut up and get out-of-the-way and let the people in the know handle it. Remember it was the irresponsible hip shooting from the Bush administration that has created so many of these tensions around the world. And I stand by that!  Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 28, 2009

    According to the Muslim hating nit-wit Sen. Joe Lieberman(R-CT), the game should start in earnest now! With the self confessing moron From Nigeria, who flew from Amsterdam to Detroit as the catalyst, Lieberman says we need to now march into Yemen and wipe out al Qaeda there! The Nigerian idiot, a child of very well to do parents claims he went to Yemen and met with al Qaeda to get the failing explosives from them. Two important points to understand here; the kid has not been proven to be a member of al Qaeda and secondly, terrorists don’t have to come from a depressed or repressed background.

    Apparently Senator Lieberman thinks it’s time to expand the U.S. search for terrorists around the globe. I’m curious, Mr. Senator, how do you plan on doing that?  There are terrorist cells and training centers all over the world, including the U.S. I suppose the natural progression would be Somalia next after Yemen, after all, there is only a small body of water between them. Might just as well go into Nigeria next, still in East Africa! I would suppose a stop in Sudan, going West on that continent, would be worthwhile, since al Qaeda has now become involved in the Darfur conflict. Since we are this far, now terrorists have now shown up in West Africa in Mali. Okay Senator, now you have most of North Africa under control,LOL!, better move on to Indonesia and the Philippians. Indonesia does have the biggest population of Muslims of any country in the world! There’s obviously many terrorists and cells there. Once you’ve gotten all these islander Muslims under control, time to move on. Why not Europe next? Madrid and London are both very well-known homes of terrorist cells and training centers. It’s quite clear the Europeans are clueless what to do about this problem, so lets send in the troops. I think the Senate committee on foreign relations would do a great job governing the European continent while our forces eliminate the terrorists.  With that being done, it’s time to move on the Western Hemisphere.  I should think it’s as plain as can be that Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, soon Bolivia, and maybe even the drug cartel of Mexico are in tight with the global network of terrorism. Send the troops over our Southern border and keep going until reaching the southern tip of South America. That’ll show those little tin horn dictators of Latin America who’s in charge! North of the U.S. border, Canada, has shown a weak position on their home-grown or imported terrorists. Toronto has a huge Muslim population, Vancouver is a known home of terrorist cells, etc. Might just well absorb that country as our 51st state and be done with it. Then Senator Lieberman and his colleagues in Washington can ignore Canada just as it does the rest of the country when it comes to domestic policy. Check, failing health care system, still, a crumbling infrastructure, failing education system causing our youth to fall farther and farther behind the youth of other developed countries, and the list of failing and ignored programs goes on and on.

    Remember Senator Lieberman, you still have to deal with ground zero, Pakistan, and other potential problems like North Korea and Iran.

    I swear these alarmist right-wing wackos really have no clue! I’d like to know how people who live and die by the words from Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michele Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and Anne Coulter, even dare go out of their bomb shelters to carry on a life! The last thing these idiots need is more ignorant rantings by an Arab hating spineless moron like Lieberman to feed into there already off the scale doom and gloom. Would all of these people please start to read, study, and research these matters before you go running off to your bomb shelters convinced the Yemenis are coming to get you! Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 27, 2009

    Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal and conservative political pundit, wrote in her column today about this situation.  She mostly reviewed the concept of “social pessimism”, claiming the economy really isn’t the cause. She cites the deteriorating social structure, we are becoming a “more coarse” society. I would blame the ever-expanding role of the internet in our lives. People don’t interact with each other like they once did. You can easily hide behind the keyboard and the cell phone while texting. Because the social rules don’t apply to cyberspace, people are becoming more crude. They leave the realm of the internet and come back to human contact and communication but are beginning to act out as they do in cyberspace. Thus, we have a break down of polite societal interaction.

   I believe the people who are yelling the loudest about this are perhaps the people who are always looking for something for free, i.e. the freeloaders always looking for the harassment or hostile work environment lawsuits. I’ve commented previously on my contempt for these kind of people and the attorneys that represent them. Either they are way too sensitive or they are lazy free loaders! this phenomena has really only been around since the mid-nineties.

   I haven’t seen any polls from the Bush years regarding optimism in general. Now, I would think that should have been an all time low!  Bush blew a 150 billion dollar surplus and turned it into a trillion some dollar deficit! What do you think that does for our psyche when considering the future. Under Bush’s leadership, we were attacked by terrorists, he had been pre-warned about something like this and chose to ignore it. Bush then led the U.S. into a sovereign state invasion, based on lies generated by his administration. He then went on a nation building campaign with more disastrous results. These lies and incompetent screw-ups cost our country thousands of lives and literally trillions of dollars! Based on a lie! Bush led America down the tubes in the eyes of many of our former allies and wrecked many allegiances around the world. Based on his leadership in the war efforts, Osama Bin Laden got through Tora Bora and is now orchestrating global chaos from Pakistan. The icing on the Bush administration cake came with his and Cheney’s close personal friends on Wall Street taking the global economy down the drain. When he authorized the bail-out and “TARP”, he did so with no oversight. So now as the Wall Street giants are more profitable than ever, are giving themselves record bonuses, there really is nothing the present administration can do about it. Some of you will place the blame elsewhere, the Fed, Congress, Treasury, but the buck stops at the desk in the Oval Office. Bush signed off on legislation that effectively became a windfall for Wall Street. Okay, so you have a replay of the highly successful Bush years. If people had been polled then, how would they have felt?

   I disagree with Ms. Noonan about the economy. When people are out of work or worried about keeping a job, they, by human nature, will have a dour outlook. Having a job, providing for themselves and family really is the top concern for a person’s very being! 

   Another reason for the country’s pessimism is the real possibility of the next generation not out-producing the previous generation. This will be the first time in our country’s history! When placing the blame for this condition, we as “baby boomers” are clearly responsible. Because our parents instilled a work ethic in us, we struggled and worked our collective asses off to be successful or even comfortable. We did and it worked. Because we thought we had to work too hard for what we have gained,  most of us are in a position to make it easier for our kids, the “twenty and thirty something” generations. They haven’t been taught about hard work and long hours, so when the “boomers” hire them, they become extremely frustrated because they aren’t willing to put in the time or effort. Just because they’re parents didn’t work weekends, they think they shouldn’t have to work weekends. I lost many employees over the years because of their lack of desire and looking for something for nothing! This is a generalization, and I understand that, but I would never hear any longer of someone fresh out of college willing to work 60 hours a week for $9200 a year! That’s what I did. I did it because that was a requirement of the job and I knew the experience would be invaluable to me for the future. Not many college grads these days would work more than a 40 hour week, much less at nights or weekends. The pay is mainly to cover social life and fun. Yes, this next American generation is in deep doo-doo. Oh well, we did it to them, and only need to blame ourselves. My wife told me years ago; ” do not hold your employees to the standard you have set for yourself, because you’ll only anger them and frustrate yourself”! This is why I no longer have any desire to manage people, unless they are over the age of 50! Thanks for the read.

Cam Obert


December 25, 2009

    Seriously, there have been some years on Christmas morning when they don’t roll out of their rooms until well after 9:00am!  It is 7:30 right now as I sit here. I love Christmas morning because before the chaos starts, I sit and look at the beautiful tree and decorations and reflect on Christmas’ past. Like most families I’m sure, my family, the Oberts, and Karen’s family, the Roys, have great traditions for this holiday. I so enjoy the merging of traditions over the years. This has made a start for my kids, Katy and Michael, to carry forth these traditions as they age and add their own new families. Karen and I, however, are not in a hurry for the new family part yet! They still need to finish college and get started on their prospective careers before getting involved with the complications that come with personal relationships! I believe an adult’s parental obligations of total off-spring support continues until the kids are established in a career after completing college. Then it becomes all about love, moral support, and guidance. I shouldn’t go on like this about my kids but, Christmas is after all, for the kids!

    This is our family’s first Christmas without our mom. Ma, probably through osmosis from Pa, the “family king of Christmas”, loved this holiday season. Even as a widow on her own for the last 22 years of her life, she would jump in with both feet preparing and enjoying this season.  Starting a few years ago, I would head up to Alexandria on Thanksgiving weekend, sometimes with Karen and the kids and sometimes by myself, and help her with her Christmas trees and decorations. It was a lot of fun and she truly enjoyed her baby helping her! Two years ago, the mortality of my mom entered my thought processes. A simple event, but very important to me. As I was stringing the lights on her big living room tree, Ma got down on her hands and knees and crawled under the tree to connect the cords. No problem, right? Well, when she crawled back out from under the tree and tried to stand back up again, she had great difficulty. I chuckled as she was swearing about getting too old to even stand up from her position on the floor. She did get up, refusing a hand by me, but it hit me then. My Ma, the “Old Bat”, the rock of the family, the strong Norwegian gal was starting to take the road home to her parents, siblings, husband, and daughter. My brothers and sister and I always thought she was indestructible. After all, anyone that smoked heavily for 70 plus years and drank whiskey with the best of them for almost as long, never got sick! Truly amazing! Her last ten years were good and rewarding for her but, the sins of her vices did finally slow her down. She had quit smoking for good about 5 years before passing away but, still had a drink at cocktail hour almost up to the end. We brought her bottle of booze to the hospital and nursing home!

    Other wise, my family and extended family and Karen’s family and extended family are generally enjoying great health, that’s tough because at last count, I think Karen’s family has grown to be most of the population of Northwest Minnesota! A good Catholic bunch they are!

    Karen’s parent’s are still very active. Dad, Louis, still plays a lot of golf, and Mom, Pauline, still goes to work everyday for the same accounting firm, where she has been employed for over 50 years! Both of them make it to almost all the grand kids events, sports, music, drama, etc. I am blessed with the best in-laws anyone could ever ask for. They both come from huge families in Northwest Minnesota and have these terrific spellbinding stories of growing up. I love them so much.

    Well, it’s now almost 8:30 and not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse! That’s inside, outside, I just had to shoo a squirrel of the Cardinal platform feeder! The snow has really picked up in intensity in the last hour, yuck! Since it started Wednesday night, I’ve gotten about 12 inches on my official snow depth gauge, the deck railing outside my living room. The first round of this white s**t was about 8 inches. It must be Christmas because my neighbor’s son-in-law plowed my driveway out yesterday while Michael and I were out getting shorn for the holiday. I still spent over three hours with shovel and snow blower cleaning all the decks and patios! I really hate winter in Minnesota. I’d love to move to Miami but, Karen and the kids just ask me to send them post cards! LOL!

    I need to close now because that squirrel is getting persistent, so I need to deal with it! Thank you for taking the time to read these snippets about our family’s holiday, I really appreciate it. Please take time to reflect on what makes this season so important, your family and friends, your faith, and hanging on to the hope of PEACE ON EARTH, and the elimination of famine for the less fortunate.


December 22, 2009

…..I’ll tell you what has gone wrong with what was once called the greatest deliberative body in the world. The extreme right wackos are having a huge impact on the conservative republican caucus. This group of Senators has been so bullied and threatened with their political lives by these wing-nuts, that they are giving in to them, in fact even starting to behave like them! That is what has gone wrong with what was once a gentleman’s club made up of friends. They used to socialize with each other, even work out compromises on legislation while on the golf course or at the local watering hole. No more! Republican members have been scolded by leadership for being too friendly with the enemy, the Democrats! Tip O’Neil and President Reagan used to have drinks and enjoy each others company in the evenings after sparring with one another all day! Can you imagine the senior”No” representative in the House, Jon”suntan year-round from Ohio?”, Boehner and President Obama having a belt after work together? Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh would call for the assassination of Boehner the next day for such a treasonous act! That’s what it’s come to. The inmates are definitely running the Republican asylum! 

   There was an uproar from the “right” this week when Senator Al Franken(D-MN), in his role as presiding officer of the Senate denied Sen. Joe Lieberman(R-CT) additional time to speak. The Majority leader earlier that day had given anyone serving as presiding officer that day the order to deny requests for additional speaking time due to the tight time frame they were working on. Later, Senator John McCain commented what a tragedy it was that Senator Franken did that. ” This is a first”, said McCain. He continued “the conduct in the Senate has reached a new low”! I guess McCain forgot that twice in the past, as presiding officer of the Senate, he denied Senator Byrd(D-WV) and Senator Mark Dayton(D-MN) requests for additional speaking time! McCain’s motto of course would be”do as I say, not as I do!”

  On June 22, 2004 Vice President Dick Cheney, as President of the Senate, went down to the well on the Senate chambers floor to confront Senator Pat Leahy(D-VT) about some pending legislation. The brief exchange between the two concluded with the Vice President telling Senator Leahy to “fuck himself”! It takes a lot of class to do that one!

   The other night, as the Senate was preparing to reconvene for the historic vote on denying the ability of the “party of no”, to go to cloture. The Democrats needed all 60 votes to win. Senator Tom Coburn(R-OK), on mike and camera, asked Americans to pray that one of the sixty Senators needed to carry the vote, wouldn’t be able to get back to vote. This Senator Coburn, a medical doctor and self-described Christian asked for prayers for ill will toward one of the enemy, a Democrat. What kind of sleazy classless act would do that, especially on the Senate floor with cameras rolling? Not only is Coburn a low life piece of human excrement, but he’s really stupid too!

   I laughed when the tabloid journalism, once again, is intruding into political and governmental business. I can’t believe what a stir was created when Senator Chuck Schumer(D-NY) was over heard whispering to a travel companion that the flight attendant was a bitch. This is not news! Hello! It gained more exposure than Coburn’s classless call for something bad to happen to one of his Senate colleagues. Do you see the problem with this picture? 

   The flames of the wing-nuts are being fanned by the media. Anybody that believes the media in our country is liberal, better think again. The media has sunk to tabloid journalism, attacking anyone. They don’t care if they are going after liberals or conservatives. This type of journalism has spawned the birth of the very extreme right-wing. Eventually, traditional conservatives will be kicked to the curb by the extremists, and the Republican party will become more conservative or a national wing-nut party will grow in size and strength. They already tried this fall in New York’s 23rd Congressional district. They failed, but I believe that probably strengthened their resolve.

  Having grown up in the Washington D.C. area, in a very political family and my Dad working in political appointed positions, I can say I know of what I speak. The conduct of the Congress is disgraceful! They are weak sniveling wimps, that seem to care only about where their next dollar is coming from and seeing to it their pet special interests are being well cared for. Where are Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn when this country needs them more than ever? Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 21, 2009

Free Health Care Clinic

    I heard a pundit this morning, Lawrence O’Donnell, crowing about the masterful job the gutless Harry Reid did in leading the Senate through to approval to move to the conference committee for the next step in putting the final bill together. This was all to avoid cloture by the republicans in the Senate. How tough can it be when you compromise on most of the important “reform” aspects of the original bill, give one Senator a three hundred million dollar deal for her state, and give away the federal house to a Senator for federal backing of his state’s Medicaid program, in perpetuity! He caved on any tough regulatory reform regarding the insurance industry thanks to Senator Joe(Etna, et al) Lieberman, the most bought off corrupt man in the Senate. Also, when a woman’s legal right to choose has been dangerously compromised because of the same guy that got his state extra federal aid in perpetuity, what are we left with?

   We are left with a bill that will guarantee even more unregulated billions of dollars to the insurance industry, more record-setting profits in the future paid for by premiums set by an industry that enjoys anti-trust protection. Why do you suppose when the House first addressed the anti-trust issue, it was quickly and very quietly removed and swept under the rug. Can you say huge campaign contributions! What a corrupt mess! It’s an industry that enjoys a state sponsored monopoly. The states do regulate premium charges to a certain extent! Again, follow the money.

   It didn’t take the senate more than a day to kill a “public option” provision. This should be at the heart of meaningful health care reform, and it was removed by the Senate almost as quickly as it came into the Senate in the House bill! Follow the money, are you seeing a trend here? I can’t understand how Democrats can go to sleep at night with that decision. How do we change a broken down corrupt system without drastically changing the playing field? Oh, oops, silly me! I forgot, the “public option” doesn’t write out checks for campaign funding nor does it spend 1.3 million dollars a week lobbying Congress to see to it marching to their beat. If Americans can’t see this clearly I don’t know what else to tell you.  Also, now that in the Senate version, a woman’s legal right to choose has been severely compromised, I wonder how much it took the Pro-Life lobby to get to Senator Ben Nelson. Ummm, follow the money?

    My last hope for any kind of productive outcome would be if the House members in the conference committee stick to their guns. But I can’t be real optimistic because there is that unlimited pile of money by the insurance and Pro-Life lobbies that will go into hyper-space speed in disseminating the loot to the members in committee. Wow, what a system! I’m sick to my stomach about this. I guess there is nothing we can do about the lobbyists, since most of them are former politicians working on “sweetheart deals”. We can’t count on them to stop their own gravy train. We can, however, turn up the heat on Congress to address the anti-trust protection the insurance industry enjoys. We can turn up the heat for tort reform to get a handle on run away medical malpractice suits, which gives the insurance industry yet another reason to gouge it’s policy holders. I’m not sure why the Democrats are not in favor of opening up the market for people, vis-a-vis buying insurance over state lines. Fill me in please.

   We do hold the re-election card. We have, as responsible citizens, the power of the ballot box. I think a lot of incumbents, from both parties, will be going down in flames in 2010. The American public is angry and the White House and the Congress are not doing what the people want right now. They want jobs and their representatives focussed on  fixing the broken economy. Keep in mind, I have no problem with the things the White House and Democrats were trying to get done, but it’s how they’ve bungled it and given the right-wing the time and format to foment the anger of the country.

  Thanks Senate. It only gets worse! Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 20, 2009

   The headline story in today’s Star Tribune sports section is, “So what’s wrong with the Gophers(hockey team)?” The Star Tribune has helped hide the problem by burying the stories of the Gophers lousy performances deep in the paper. I guess they were trying to cover for the coach, Don Lucia?  The paper finally has to start telling the truth. From today’s story, there appears to be a lot of questioning about the program from supporters, season ticket holders, former players, current players, and yes, even Wally Shaver, the radio voice of Gopher hockey. What has taken so long? My guess is the glaring failures that continue with the Gopher football program has taken the heat off Lucia.

    I started seeing this slide in the 2007-2008 season. There has been a smugness around this program and coach that seemingly is baseless. There has been a complacency with the hockey team since the mid-point of ’07-’08. The coach, Lucia, has let this thing get away from him and doesn’t seem to have a clue how to fix it. He came from Colorado College, where he built an NCAA hockey elite program. But, at that time, the Minnesota job was considered the top job in the country! He took the job, believing recruiting wasn’t necessary because the high school blue chip players begged to play for Minnesota. With that being said, coaching would be less stressful because how can you not win national titles galore with the top recruiting classes every year? Thus the program has lost it’s teeth and complacency is now the norm. Lucia has grown to be a weak leader and a lousy recruiter. Yes, recruiter. Today’s article cites players on the first line of this year’s team, would be no better than third line on most WCHA teams.

   With Don Lucia at the controls this program will continue to flounder. It needs a shot of quality coaching and a renewal of  swagger that goes with a champion team. The Gophers desperately need a change.  The athletic director, Joel Maturi, can not drag his feet, this must be done, even prior to the end of this season! The high school players and blue chippers playing Juniors need to see this. This season is lost already, and without a change, next season is lost too.

   Jim Souhan, a writer for the Star Tribune, wrote a story the other day about the Coach Brewster led problems of the Gopher football program. Maturi is under the gun to make that change as well. He has a history of playing it too cautious when it comes to making coaching changes.  The Gophers have a beautiful brand new on-campus stadium. The students have already stopped showing up for games! Why can’t anybody at the “U” see this? Dump Brewster and bring in a big name coach, and yes pay for it!

   That brings us to the crux of the problem at the University of Minnesota. The administration, the faculty, and the alumni simply don’t care. I understand this is a major hurdle for Joel Maturi to get over regarding his whole department. The top revenue generator for every D-1 school is football. I don’t get why the powers that be at the “U” insist on ignoring this reality and want to believe the “U” is a major academic and research institution. The “U” is already that leading academic and research institution, so now they need to focus on athletics. Get off the high marble perch and please open your eyes and accept reality.

   I will continue to bang the drum for improved athletics, major sports, at the “U”. The school has the largest single campus student population of any school in the country. Take advantage of that resource and grow a powerhouse in football, basketball, and hockey! Thank you.

Cam Obert


December 19, 2009

   I didn’t submit a commentary yesterday because of the big day at the Mall of America, I apologize for that. Anyway, my wife Karen and I took off for our annual date at the Mall. This really is the only time I venture to this place each year! With Karen directing me where to park, we actually got pretty close, we arrived at 9:15am and entered the Mall at Macy’s.

   The fun now begins! Karen, whose legs are about 10 inches shorter than mine took off in the lead! It seemed for the next six plus hours I was struggling to keep up with her. She was prepared with lists in one hand and coupons in the other. Of course, her mind functions like a well oiled computer, she had to make sure the monetary value of the gifts for the kids was somewhat equal. Flashback to my Dad when we were kids, explaining every year how difficult it is to balance this with four kids!  As we moved quickly through the Mall, keep in mind, this is the biggest mall in the United States, we were actually making great progress. My aching feet and lower back will attest to that!  By 2:15pm, we were ready for a break. We stopped at Kokomo’s, a Caribbean themed eatery and bar. Karen had  Jamaican chicken jerk sandwich and I had the pressed Cuban sandwich. Both were delicious and we able to wind down a bit with the help of a couple 24 ounce bottles of Pacifico y Clara cervesa fria!!!!  We only had two stops left in our day of shopping and it went smoothly.

    While scurrying around the Mall of America I noticed a couple things. The Mall was not as crowded as years past, testament to our present economic situation. It seems, other than Karen and I and a few others maybe, nobody was really enthusiastic or upbeat. Again, perhaps the economy at work. One thing that wasn’t different was the look on the faces of husbands chasing their wives through this whole “death march” day! The kids and teens all seemed to be happy and having a good time. Oh the blissful ignorance of youth! I also noticed how many people shop in an indoor mall with their winter coats, jackets and sweaters on! I was wearing only a tee-shirt and jeans and the sweat poured out of me all day. That, however, is mostly a result of being 70 pounds overweight and in horrible shape! I was wearing my University of South Carolina tee-shirt, I had to publically show my pride in South Carolina for the two political and intellectual giants in Gov. Mark Sanford and Sen. Jim DeMint! Anyway, I digress. On this coat and jacket subject, why in Minnesota do people wear their jackets and caps while driving or riding in a car? Don’t their cars have heat? They really do look like backwoods hicks! Remember the driving scenes in the movie “Fargo”? It’s reality here. I personally don’t wear a coat or jacket until it goes below zero. I still don’t however, wear them in the car.

   Upon arriving back at home, my back, knees and feet were killing me. I had to rest, so at 4:30pm, I laid down on the couch to catch a nap. The beer also did me in! How do people drink during the day? On the rare occasion I do, it’s always the same result, headache and long nap! I didn’t get off the couch the rest of  the evening!

   That was my date for the day at the Mall with Karen. It was a lot of fun and productive! We finished the shopping for everyone. Karen, the human dynamo, after a brief rest, stayed up and wrapped all the gifts! What a trooper!

    I hope you all can relax and enjoy the preceeding days of Christmas. They truly are my favorite days of the year. Today we watch our niece Sydney in a holiday play, do some baking, and attend a close friends huge 50th birthday party tonight at Nyes. I can’t wait to get out on the floor and polka! Tomorrow brother Tom and sister-in-law Ruth arrive for an overnighter with us on their way to Indiana for Christmas. We will all enjoy son Michael playing a holiday gig with one of his quartets in the afternoon then dig into Karen’s lasagna tomorrow evening for dinner!

   Anyway, enjoy the holidays and peace be with you. Thank you.

Cam Obert

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