Archive for May, 2010

SHIFTING ANGER-OIL SPILL TO MINNESOTA GOPHER SPORTS

May 28, 2010

Okay, I’m trying to keep a lid on my rage about the number of publically prominent people bitching about the President’s handling of BP’s environmental disaster in the Gulf. I want to go through the screen every time I hear the loud mouths of Joe Scarborough and James Carville running their yaps about how Obama is running the country. In today’s final statement about President Obama’s handling of the crisis, if you are ripping him, go screw yourself because you obviously are totally clueless about the nature of this situation and collateral issues!

On to Tubby Smith and his sinking ship known as the Minnesota Gopher basketball program. He and the “U” just lost a court case brought against them by former assistant coach Jimmy Williams. I had originally ripped Williams for quitting his job at Oklahoma State before “inking the deal” with Tubby at Minnesota. I have since learned that he couldn’t have signed a contract at Minnesota without formally quitting at OSU. He could have, however, at least come to Minneapolis and had formal meetings and agreements made with Tubby and Joel Maturi, the school’s Athletic Director. His contact was only via phone conversation with Tubby. There’s plenty of blame to go around here. defenders of Tubby say his deal with Maturi was made over the phone to get him here. The differences; Tubby was unemployed at the time, thus unencumbered by an existing contract, and he made the deal with Maturi, the head athletic guy at Minnesota.

The round ball program seems to be on a pretty steep downward slope. The team still has a pretty decent core of players, good enough to get them to the NCAA tournament next year, provided nobody else flees the program. Tubby is entering his fourth year at the “U”. This will now be all of “his” players, used to playing his system. The Star Tribune reported today that in Tubby’s fourth year at Kentucky, he led the “Cats to the sweet 16. Tom Izzo, in his fourth year at Michigan State made the Final Four. By Thad Matta’s fourth year at Ohio State he had already coached in the national championship game. I’ve talked about this before on these pages, there is something wrong at the University of Minnesota trying to develope nationally prominent programs in the “major sports”. Nobody, even Sid Hartman, can explain what the problem is. The Gopher hoopsters play their home games at venerable old Williams Arena. Built in 1919, “the barn” for decades was considered the premier basketball facility in the country. To this day, it’s raised floor is considered the best floor in Division One hoops. The barn used to be rockin’, prior to fire code restrictions, over twenty thousand Gopher crazies would jam into there. The most exciting place in the world to watch a live basketball game was at Williams Arena during the Bill Musselman era. He brought passion and success to the “U”. He also brought scorn and probation. Since then, with the exception of Jim Dutcher’s first team post-Musselman that was considered by far the best team in the country, the program has had only spots of moderate success and excitement. The fire marshall has reduced capacity at the barn to only about thirteen thousand. It’s still a world-class basketball playing arena.

In Tubby’s tenure here, he has not signed a single high school blue chipper from outside Minnesota. Hell, even Don Lucia, the “U” hockey coach, just signed a blue chip puckster from Canada! So far this year he has lost three players, one of them, Royce White, is a true All-American candidate player. The program might be losing another quality player soon in Trevor Mbakwe. It begs the question once again, what’s wrong with the Gopher big revenue programs, football, basketball, and hockey? Tubby has a record of building national powerhouse programs at Tulsa, Georgia, and Kentucky. So, it’s not Tubby, what is it?

I believe Maturi is in way over his head running a Big Ten conference school’s athletics. He has made so many rookie mistakes, even years into his tenure, that it literally is having a dragging down effect on the whole program. The fact the non-revenue sports do quite well is indicative of his strength. He came out of a much smaller program at Miami of Ohio, thus has experience operating on a smaller playing field. the Minnesota president, Don Bruninks is a big athletics fan but that’s where it starts and stops from the school’s administration. For decades the administration and faculty have not been supportive of Gopher sports. Other than the die-hard hockey fans, the alumni doesn’t really back the programs as much as they should. Minnesota is a world-class university with very prestigious academic and research programs. It is the single biggest campus in the United States, with a very vibrant student population. It’s actually the most difficult school in Minnesota to get accepted to for high school seniors. It’s an urban campus with access to all the neat stuff that college kids love. So why can’t they field quality, national power programs? A question without answers at this time.

On a positive note, my beloved Gopher baseball team is just a win away from going to the NCAA tournament. I love coach John Anderson, a no-nonsense guy that runs a quality program year after year! Now flush with a few million bucks seed money from the Pohlad family, owners of the Minnesota Twins, the Gopher Nine will be playing on a new beautiful state-of-the-art open air baseball stadium, on campus! I can’t wait.

Have a great holiday weekend, thanks for today’s read, and feel free to comment on this or other commentaries from this week. In case you missed them, there are some real humdingers in there!

Cam Obert

THE PRESIDENT CAN NOT PLUG THE HOLE!!!

May 27, 2010

I hate to come off daily as an angry old fart but all I have to do is watch the news and I become enraged. Now it’s about every reactionary idiot, both parties and all philosophical foundations. Why can’t these people grasp the idea the federal government and the President are not equipped to deal with the disaster. The blow out occurred over 5000 feet under the surface of the Gulf. The ONLY entities in the world that have the technology, know how, and equipment to deal with deep water situations are the oil companies. The federal government DOES NOT have any of what it takes to fix this problem. Do you right-wing Obama haters and left-wing empty heads hear me. The government will fail miserably if it tries to fix this problem. Governor Bobby Jindal and famous Louisiana Democrat James Carville need to shut up and go lay by their dishes! They do not know what they are talking about.

For the right-wing crowd that keeps demanding smaller government and no taxes, prove it and let the culprit BP, a private sector business, deal with this mess. I can’t believe the number of right-wing leaders Rush, Sean, etc. that are yelling for THE GOVERNMENT to fix this problem. What happened to the know how can do brilliance of the private sector? They fucked it up, let them fix it!

The left-wing heads-in-the-clouds crew wants the government to fix this problem because since a private sector business fucked up the drilling, they can’t be trusted to fix it. They are drawing parallels to the Wall Street criminals being allowed to fix their problems. There is a huge difference. The government does have the expertise to grasp and fix monetary problems. The government does not, again, have the know how, technology, and equipment to repair a blown out oil well a mile under the surface of the Gulf. For God’s sake, GET A CLUE!

Financial and investment guru Jim Kramer, “CNBC’s Mad Money”, says it’s ludicrous to think President Obama and the government can fix this problem. His sources are telling him the administration personnel on this project have been working around the clock since the explosion. They are working hand-in-hand with BP, TransOcean, and the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers. BP has enlisted, since day one, the assistance from every major oil company in the world to get a handle on this. Like Kramer, I bristle every time I hear Obama and the government are being too “hands off” on this catastrophe.

I’m sick of hearing about Obama not taking the lead to fix this. What is he supposed to do? He’s been very clear BP is responsible for all aspects of this disaster. Then he gets criticized for saying he has the heel of the government on the throat of BP. The political leadership opposed to the way Obama has handled this, can not answer the question of what is Obama supposed to do? Again, sit on the sidelines and take cheap potshots.

I guess they want to see the President on the boats with a Coast Guard jacket on with a concerned look on his face. Then they need to see him on land commiserating with the fishermen whose livelihoods have been forever destroyed by the oil spill. Then they want to see him washing oil off the feathers of a Brown Pelican. Can you believe this? This is pure unmitigated bullshit! Hello America!, there is a difference between a natural disaster, hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes, and a man-made disaster like oil spills and coal mine explosions. The government is equipped and compelled to respond to natural disasters. Man-made disasters are the responsibility of the offending parties. There are laws on the books to deal with these. These laws DO NOT mandate nor compel the federal government to engage in the repair and clean-up. Again, is any body home? Do any of the critics of the administration bother to read the laws? Shut your f**king pie holes and start studying!

There is a parallel to the Wall Street financial disaster and the recent coal mine disaster and the Gulf oil spill. The parallel is the Bush II administration’s relaxing government regulation and oversight and even de-regulating aspects of these businesses. The economic meltdown happened because the greed of the private sector went unchecked to the point of almost taking down the world economy. The fact that the Bush II energy policy was written and enforced by Dick Cheeney and his oil baron buddies is proof right there what happened in West Virginia and in the Gulf. The coal mining companies short cut safety measures to put more profit to the bottom line. Keep in mind, ore mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. So, they skip installing technologically correct safety systems to make more money. BP and TransOcean, by choice, omitted the correct blow-out device that would have automatically capped this well when the explosion occurred. That device, mandated by other oil-producing countries, would have cost BP an extra 500 million dollars. Keep in mind, the oil companies are enjoying boom times, setting new profit records every quarter, BP made a profit in the first quarter this year of 5.6 billion dollars! That’s net profit, after they skipped out on paying their fair share of taxes.

Now Senator Mary Landrieu(D-LA), is asking for Obama to show up with money for her state for clean-up and for her residents who have been put out of work by the spill. SCREW YOU LADY! Again, begging the federal government for money. Why isn’t Landrieu going after BP for the money? BP has way more available money than the government. I wish everybody would turn their bile and venom on BP and lay off the President. What has happened to common sense in America. One knee-jerk rip on the President after another. None of them are well-founded nor factual.

It’s time to let President Obama push the heel of the federal government on the throat of BP, TransOcean, and Halliburton. They caused the disaster make them fix it, pay all the bills, and see to it they pay all the suits brought against them in a timely manner. God, I wish I was a spokesman for President Obama. I’ve got big balls and I would use them in a very forceful fashion. I’m sick to my stomach of the side-line sitting, uneducated, nattering nabobs of negativity. They need to be put in their place. They don’t offer alternatives to the Obama plans because they are gutless cowards that don’t want to be accountable or responsible for their statements and ideas.

Thanks for today’s read, and hopefully I’ve still got plenty of piss and vinegar in the tank.

Cam Obert

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMERICA?…

May 26, 2010

…and what needs to be done about it? The situation in the United States is moving toward where we were prior to the Civil War. The level of extreme hate has been ratcheted up to a point where in the 1850’s the southern states left the Union. Why did they leave? They call it the “War of Northern Aggression”. Other than Sherman’s magnificent path of “scorched earth” through the south, this was all about the South seceding from the Union. They claimed “states rights”! Why, because the federal government leaned on the southern states to stop the practice od slavery and human bondage. The Southern states felt it was not the business of the federal government. Hmmm, images of Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, right? Anyway, I digress. The hatred of the south versus north was so strong that it literally split the country and forced us into war with ourselves. Why, pure ignorance and blind followers behind hateful bigoted leaders. Are you seeing the parallels forming with today’s America?

Today, the vast majority of anti-America haters are led by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham, Jonah Goldberg, Lars Larsen, Michele Malkin, Bill Kristol, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Britt Hume, Roger Ales, and Rupert Murdock. If you listen to what these people saying or read, I know, that’s a stretch, what they write, it’s all negative all hateful. They only blast the powers that be in government, call out the personal and professional failings of these people but never ever offer they’re plans or ideas. You know why? Because they have none and they don’t want to be accountable. Look the group of hating leaders I have referenced. You’ll notice not one of them is in elective office. Not one of them is from the world of academia. In fact, several of them have no college education whatsoever! These are your leaders of the right-wing agenda in the United States today. Pretty shocking isn’t it? It’s also very sad. You notice every time a person is nominated for an office, position, or a seat on the bench, if they are college educated, especially Ivy League educated, these right-wing leaders assail them solely based on their educations. Petty jealousy!

When fact-checking the outrageous statements these spiteful leaders make, you’ll find the majority of what they spew is either false, exaggerated, or a flat-out lie. They say these outrageous hateful things to fire up their unenlightened followers. They know they can do that because the bigoted anti-government people who follow them will never bother to read and get the facts. Hmmm, very similar to the build-up prior to the “War Between the States”.

The obvious way to calm this rhetoric of hate is for the conservative leadership in office holding positions to start calling the wackos out on the their lies and fear-mongering. This is not pre-nazi ruled Germany. The responsible political leaders need to take the lead, not the wing-nuts led by Rush Limbaugh. For over fifty years there has been a portion of the population that is very conservative, to the level of the Tea-baggers. That proportion is roughly 20%. Today, about 20% of Americans identify with some or most of what the tea-baggers stand for. Why are we letting this loud-mouthed uneducated 20% minority make so much noise? A recent report shows nearly 50% of these people don’t pay taxes! I’m so sick of hypocritical thieves getting a voice.

The tea-bagger whack jobs of the right believe government is too big and we are over-taxed. In recent decades, the two largest expansions of government have come under President Bush II and the President Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of small government anti-tax wing-nuts. The facts speak for themselves, so don’t bore me with your right-wing excuses for those two failed Presidencies. Now they are all screaming at President Obama to get into the Gulf and dive down to plug the oil gusher! What happened to the private sector? I thought they can do things better and more efficiently than the government. Here’s some more facts for you anti-American righties; after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the law was changed making the offending company completely responsible for all capture, clean-up, rehabilitation, and financial reparations to any person or business negatively affected by the result of the spill. Another fact for you, the big oil companies are much better equipped to handle these disasters, they have the equipment and knowledge, neither of which the federal government has. Now President Obama has dispatched 1200 National Guard troops to guard the border. This is not a free service! It costs hundreds of millions of dollars. Who’s going to pay for it? If we Americans pay, that’s called taxes. Oops, but the right-wingers are opposed to taxation. Oh well, what company wants to take up privately guarding the border and charging the property owners on the U.S. side for the service? Do you see the sense here? Do you see how mis-guided and stupid the these wackos are?

It’s questions like these that you cannot get answers for from the right side. It’s because they have no answers. They can only lay low and take constant pot shots at the government in power. Let me qualify that; they do have answers, actually the same answers for every issue, reduce government and eliminate taxes. These antitax people are factually full of shit. They say cutting taxes allows the private sector to grow and put more people to work. Personal and corporate tax levels have been much lower since 2000, and, in fact, much lower than the 1960’s when adjusted for inflation. I see plummeting employment numbers since 2000 and coincidentally, record after tax net profits for corporate America. Can’t these idiots see what is going on here? The corporations are applying the tax cuts, the tax incentives, and gained money from illegally using tax loop holes to their bottom lines. They are not growing or hiring people. They are still laying people off, shifting production over seas, and hiding profits in off shore banks. It almost seems corporate America is making a strong attempt to undermine America and it’s unemployment situation. They right-wing leaders know these statistics but reference them at all in their hate-speak.

This is not a statement on the right-wing hate spewing only. It is evident on the left as well. Right here in Minnesota, there are progressive Democrats that attack Senator Mark Dayton because he is wealthy. I have never heard such a lame excuse to dislike or savage a person in politics. If these progressive or liberals are so concerned about gaining an important political seat, Governorship, then why would they oppose the most liberal candidate on the slate? Oh, he’s rich, he doesn’t understand. Well here are some facts for you libs, he voted lock-step in the Senate with Paul Wellstone and Ted Kennedy, two of the most vocal leaders for civil and health care rights for Americans. Senator Dayton called out the gutless Democratic controlled legislature for the weak compromise with perhaps the most selfish uncaring Governor in the history of the state. He called the settled budget a sell-out to the Republicans and big business and a morally bankrupt bill. But the libs don’t like him because he is wealthy. The deeply entrenched Democrats are angry with him because he didn’t go along with their trite, silly, and huge money wasting party nominating convention. It really would be so much cheaper to eliminate the convention and let ALL the Democrats in the state participate by voting in a primary. For the firmly entrenched party people, I think this about job security and the loss of personal power and influence. Here’s a fact for them; twenty of the past twenty-eight years the Governor seat has been held by persons not endorsed by the Republican or Democratic party. What does that say for the elitist convention process. Obviously, the people of Minnesota don’t buy it.

Everybody needs to calm down and please, start to educate yourself on the issues. If you wish to be a viable and responsible citizen, it is your responsiblity to read, research, study, and understand to issues. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

TWO-TOPIC TUESDAY, SESTAK AND MN GOVERNOR CANDIDATE FORUM

May 25, 2010

Seth and I

Last night I attended the Minnesota Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at Temple Israel in Minneapolis. All of the announced candidates in the race except Republican Party endorsed candidate Tom Emmer participated. Surprisingly, there was a large turn out.

I believe this was rather a waste of time. The candidates responded to several questions and issues that were set up in advance. The umbrella topic for the evening was money, poverty, affordable housing, and affordable health care. The problem; too many candidates and too little time for responses, one minute. It also failed in the area of follow-up. Some of the candidates would simply throw stuff out there and nobody followed up with them to make them accountable for his or her statement. Another negative was there was only fifteen minutes set aside for questions from the audience. These questions were submitted by the attendees on note cards, were screened by the staff, and then presented to the candidates by the moderator. There were only three audience questions put to the candidates, very disappointing!

I believe having open to all candidate forums prior to the conclusion of conventions and primaries is really dumb. There are always too many candidates and too little time to dig into the issues. I think these superficial “meet and greet” sessions really have no value. Right now, the candidates forums need to be within the party only. We do have three viable parties in Minnesota, Republican, Democratic, and Independent. The Green Party tries, but. Being a liberal, I would love to see a substantive debate with Dayton, Entenza, and Anderson-Kelliher. The format for this and all the party only forums should be such that follow-up questions to statements and candidates questioning each other. For three candidates for example, at least an hour and a half should be sufficient. We need to attack the issues and dig deep into the candidates’ thoughts on these issues.

I feel the “stars” of last night’s forum were Dayton, Entenza, Anderson-Kelliher, and Horner. The other four participants are minor players that basically seemed to serve the forum as the comedy relief corps, or out of touch wackos. In my opinion, Mark Dayton in this group is the most ready and prepared to be the next Governor. I think Tom Horner would be my close second choice. Entenza brings a lot to the table as well. I love his determination to establish an energy economy.

For the DFL, there are three very strong candidates. The convention is over and the primary is coming up in August. I hope there are many debates planned for these three. If there is anything I can do to help promote this, I hope somebody from the party would contact me. As I’ve said often, the last twelve years of slash and burn management coming from the Governor’s office should “tee it up” for the Democratic candidate. This should be an easy win for the Democratic candidate and the election should be theirs to lose. We have suffered under the drastic budget cutting the last twelve years and the overly drastic tax cuts that have sent the state right into the ditch. The state has a REVENUE SHORTFALL! We need to enhance revenue streams to get the government off it’s back. This was the “elephant” in the room last night. Only Dayton told the complete truth. Taxes need to be raised, bottom line. Minnesotans are now paying taxes at a level lower than the past thirty some years. Isn’t the correlation interesting. We were the state that stood out as an example of how to run a successful state government. Then the radical right started gaining a foothold, started cutting taxes, cutting budgets, and cutting services and now we are to be compared with the likes of Mississippi and Alabama. Those states are examples of what you get when you don’t tax the residents and businesses, They are about dead last in every quality of life measurement there is. This is where Minnesota is heading folks. We need somebody like a Wendell Anderson and the program known as the “Minnesota Miracle” again. So Democrats, it’s right in front of you, tell the truth, be instructive, and challenge the status quo of slashed budgets and reduced revenues.

Topic Two: Congressman Joe Sestak and the White House offer of administration employment to keep him from challenging Arlin Spector for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Some pundits are screaming about possible broken laws and the need for an independent counsel to investigate the situation. I’m not sure if any laws were broken, but if there were, then damn near every administration needs to be investigated for the rational of their hires. Hello, this is POLITICS 101 IN AMERICA. It’s a system of favor granting and deal making. This is what makes the system operate. As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-issue. I don’t recall any huge uproar over Dick Cheeney asking Tim Pawlenty to step aside and let Norm Coleman face Paul Wellstone for the Senate seat in Minnesota. Pawlenty was told to run for governor and he would get the full backing of the President and the White House in that run. So what! the sad thing is the fact that this story still has any traction at all is a result of the 24/7 news cycles and news outlets.

If I hear one more conservative rip the “liberal media” for not jumping on this story I’ll scream. They never made a big deal about the Cheeney-Coleman-Pawlentydeal. And how conveniently the conservatives have forgotten a media that ripped the Clintons apart for years, mercilessly! It was a many year-long bludgeoning that continues today! Remember how the media simply tore Hillary Clinton apart in 2008? The media was most responsible for the “ordination” of Barack Obama! The pure fact of the matter is right-wing media far dominates the market in the U.S.

That’s my “Two for Tuesday”. Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to hearing from you.
Cam Obert

HEAT, HUMIDITY, DUCKS, POOLS, AND LANDSCAPE CHORES

May 24, 2010

I pulled the trampoline cover off the swimming pool yesterday to get things ready for the man who comes today to get the pump going, repair the heater, blow the lines out, and shock the water with a heavy dose of chemicals. I waited later this year to do this chore because recent history proves there is no hurry to open the pool. We didn’t swim the past two years until June 13 and 14. The past two summers have not been good for swimming, very cold seasons! I have already filled the fuel tanks for the patio heaters, they get more use in June, July, and August than any other time of the year! Since removing the cover, a local pair of Mallards have taken up their leisure time swimming and preening in my pool. It’s so peaceful watching them go about their business. They even nap at poolside! The water is perfect for them now, all green and dirty. Soon, however, they will avoid it, once the heavy dose of chlorine has been added. Because of the early on-set of warm weather, I’ve already been battling algae problems in my backyard Koi pond. The fish, however, don’t seem to mind the murkiness of the water.

I think the coast is clear in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area to go ahead and plant your annuals. Be ready to cover them in case we get a frost. We still have about ten more days of the traditional frost season. If you still have perennials to transplant, you should try to get that job done before the end of the month. The more they have grown the more difficult it is to divide and/or transplant. Be ready, especially in the warmer weather, to water the heck out of them until they are past transplant shock. The plant will let you know right away if they need water. They will wilt or bend over. Get water to them right away if you find them in that condition. It’s probably too late to attempt shrub and small tree transplantation. Try to move these plant materials while in dormancy or just coming out of dormancy.

Remember, if in sandy soil, heavily mulch with shredded hard wood. If your soil is more clay, use mulch very lightly or none at all. Though I’m not a fan of using landscape rock for mulch, if you have a heavily treed lot, rock mulch is easier to blow leaves off in the fall. Use river rock, cheaper and won’t blow off the bed as easily as the flatter varieties of rock.

This is NOT the time of year to prune oaks, ash, elm, and birch trees. Now wait until fall for this chore. Most other tree varieties you can more safely trim now. Remember, the best time to trim trees is in late fall to late winter, fruit and maple trees are probably best done in January. A tree under stress will start to show die-back near or at the top of or at the far tips at the drip line. The leaves begin to curl and turn brown. If you see the top of an oak tree turn brown it probably has oak wilt. Some varieties can survive a bout of this, but red oaks can’t and will be dead within two weeks of first notice. The newer varieties of elm are Dutch Elm resistant, but if you have a beautiful old American Elm, it can still contract the disease. The Ash forest is now under assault by the Emerald Ash borer. The birches, particularly Paper Birch can be killed by the Golden Birch Borer. If your birches can be treated with a dormant oil, do it. Once they get too big to practically spray, you can let them go on their own. If you have ash trees on your lot and see a die-back occurring near the top, check closely around the trunk of the tree and look for small D-shaped openings. If you see this, rip the bark off there and look for “trails” in the trunk wood. If this is the case, call your city’s forester immediately. They will want to look at the tree prior to taking it down.

Speaking of trees, have you noticed all the cotton flying around? Cottonwood trees not only produce the flying cotton that choke air conditioner condenser coils and fill garages and yards with cotton, they also constantly drop branches and limbs all year round. Cottonwoods are a nuisance and a menace to urban and suburban areas. Please, do yourself, and more importantly, do your neighbors a favor, and remove any of these “garbage” tress from your landscape. Another “trash tree” is the Siberian/Chinese Elm. The DNR now rates them as a landscape nuisance. They are “prodigious seeders” that virtually bury neighborhoods every spring with their seeds. It some times looks like a blizzard when the seeds release at once. Not only do they make a tremendous mess, they also spawn elm tree seedlings in the landscape. These seedlings are quite hardy as well. It takes a lot of Round-Up to make them go away. I usually spend hours a week pulling them out of my beds. These trees are extraordinarily ugly anyway. They have ugly gray stained bark, small leaves that are the last of the fall to release, and do not create a nice canopy at all. They are NOT native to our landscape. Again, if you have these growing on your lot, do yourself and your neighbors a favor and remove them. They too, are messy all year round. Twigs, branches, and limbs die off a lot. The dead debris falls constantly.

Speaking of rural, suburban, and rural nuisances, dandelions are out of control. It’s time for neighbors and neighborhoods to get after property owners that make no effort to rid their property of this landscape blight. Neighborhoods need to be working together on this dandelion eradication because when they go to seed, the seeds land anywhere. So please, do the responsible civic-minded thing and start treating your property to remove dandelions. I personally am going to go before my city council to talk about these suburban landscape problems.

May is the month where you treat your lawn for broadleaf weeds. Herbicides work best when the target is in it’s best growing conditions. You don’t need to buy the “name brand” stuff. Any brand of “weed and feed” fertilizer will do. Sometimes a follow-up application a week or so later helps. The next lawn application will be around the fourth of July, that should be just a maintainance feeding. If you have ants or subterranean insects like grubs etc, apply a lawn insecticide as many as three times a season. If you have a mole problem, eventually they will go away as the grub population gets eliminated.

Your lawn and landscape need at least an inch of water a week. If you don’t have an automated irrigation system, use a rain gauge or a can marked at an inch, under the sprinklers. A long thorough soaking once a week is more beneficial than brief sprinkles more frequently. You want a deep watering to encourage the plants and lawn to grow deeper root systems to seek out water and cooler soil temperatures. Another reason why you want to be very careful about feeding the lawn too much nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages top green growth and doesn’t promote root growth. Deeper roots allow plants to survive drought conditions much better.

That’s your mid-May landscape report. Please, if your property has any of the offensive plants, cottonwoods, siberian/chinese elms, buckthorn, silver maples, and dandelions, do the right thing and remove them. You and your neighbors will be much happier. Thanks for today’s read, and I hope to read your comments and answer your landscaping questions. You can also reach me via camobert@comcast.net or at Backyard Transformations at 612-747-5575.

Cam Obert

END TO A WILD WEEK…FINALLY!

May 21, 2010

Unless Rand Paul opens his yap more to sink further, or Richard Blumenthal has more lame explanations or excuses for his history of documented lying about his military service in Vietnam, it should be quieter today. I guess a highlight for today is to see if and how much the stock market can recoup after yesterday’s collapse.

Some highlights from this week include another Democratic win in a special election for a vacant House seat. That’s four in a row for the Dems. I’m still waiting for the Republican groundswell to form! A Democrat defeated a sitting Senator, who for over the past 40 years has been a staunch Republican until last year. Both Democratic candidates for the Senate seat in Kentucky out-polled media darling and idiot Rand Paul. Bill Halter caught incumbant fence-sitter Blanche Lincoln to force a run-off in three weeks in Arkansas. Early forecasts are for a Halter victory June 8th. Senator Mitch McChinless(R-KY) proved he has no political capital left in his own state. Look for him to finally be defeated on his next election.

Possibly the biggest story is the Senate passing a Wall Street and Banking reform bill. A month ago, I predicted in this venue, that Wall Street reform would be strike two against the Republicans in Congress prior to this falls elections. It passed the Senate yesterday with a “super majority” thus stopping the ability for McHinless to filibuster yet another bill. Four Republicans crossed over to vote in favor. The two Maine Senators, Scott Brown, the new Republican Senator from Massachusetts, and Chicken Little Chuck Grassley from Iowa. Grassley is polling so horribly in Iowa, his Democratic opponent for the fall is leading him, that he is backing away from his former “Party of No” antics. The voters of Iowa have figured out they are paying their Republican Senator for doing nothing and it will cost him his job in November. As the Republican party with a very wounded chairman, Michael Steele, a splinter group led by Newtie G., and a growing rift between the party and the tea-baggers, my prediction of no major gains in Congress for the Republicans this fall is coming clear. I have said they are “rudderless” and have been counting on the leadership and direction from Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Network, for over a year now. I believe Newtie is the only one smart enough to see this but, he has so much baggage himself, he can’t go far as a party leader before the skeletons start floating out of his closet.

Another conservative “family values” Republican went down in flames this week. Representative Mark Souder(R-IN), admitted boinking his married staffer while promoting “family values” and “abstinence before marriage” virtues. I guess since he and his staffer that were pounding on the side are both married, that means it’s okay for then to partake in the pleasures of the flesh! Yippee!, score yet another one for the hypocrites on the right! As my sister and Ed Schultz would say, “folks, you can’t make this stuff up”!

Another gem I unveiled in this column last month was the culpability of former Veep Dick Cheeney in the legal, moral, environmental, and fatal energy disasters of the past few months. Pundits Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, after reading my story, have begun to go after this (tongue in cheek). Does this relieve Interior Secretary Salazar of responsibility? Not completely. The energy policy in for the United States was put in place at the secret White House meetings with Energy Czar Cheeney and the CEO’s of the energy producers and suppliers and his pals at Haliburton. This was an obvious case of the fox watching the hen-house. The mine explosion and the oil spill are direct results of the energy policy of the country. Lax or no regulation, fines and punishments being ignored or appealed for an eternity are the ingredients of a greedy industry allowed to go unchecked by the government. Salazar, who was in the Senate when Cheeney pulled this scam off, should have known better. His first mission as Secretary of the Interior should have been to start working immediately with Congress to overturn the crooked bullshit Cheeney set up. He knew about it and should have acted more promptly. He needs to dismantle the MMS as the oversight arm because it is so badly tainted by Cheeney, Haliburton, and the big energy companies. You know Cheeney knows he is guilty because the once roaring mouth from the right has been strangely silent since the mine explosion. You have probably also notice that daughter Liz Cheeney, the “evil one”, is no longer talking. I think Fox News has figured out how toxic she is now because the one time regular on all of their hate spewing shows is hardly ever on anymore. I wonder whats going on?

The new “Conscience of the United States Senate”, Al Franken(D-MN), introduced a very important bill yesterday to deal with excessive bullying of gay youth. Apparently, to now, there has really been nothing in place regarding this issue. This is a great “feel good” piece of legislation that is very much in need. Minnesota senior Senator Amy Klobachar(D), finally signed on as a co-sponsor. I’ve noticed that already some republicans in the Senate are already opposing the bill as “unnecessary”. They believe the laws already deal with this. Ask the LBGT kids that are harassed and bullied daily how they feel about the effectiveness of the current laws.

Things are starting to work in the direction that I have been talking about for months. The Democrats have a lot of great accomplishments to hang their hats on in the past eighteen months, and if presented and sold to the voters properly, they will prevail in November. That’s my look at the week, have a great weekend and thank you so much for the read.
Cam Obert

IS RAND PAUL STUPID OR WHAT?

May 20, 2010

The carnival surrounding the Tea-Bagger movement in America has taken yet another turn to comedy, tragedy, sadness, ignorance, hate, paranoia and anything else negative for the discourse of politics or the governance of America. The latest turn?, Senate Republican primary winner in Kentucky Rand Paul’s comments about civil rights issues. With one of his feet firmly standing on his penis and the other stuck in his mouth, he proclaimed he is not in favor of civil rights legislation to protect Americans from discrimination due to skin color, etc. in private establishments. This is under the guise of private property rights. He says he believes business owners should be free to make their own rules regarding their own business and property and not be subject to government regulations outlining what and what not is legal to operate a business. Remember the “lunch counter” in North Carolina in the early ’60’s that was an igniting moment in the civil rights movement, culminating in President Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

How can a public figure in 2010 suggest a return to that kind of open racism and segregation? This is a clear indication that Paul is not remotely ready to serve the American public and the residents of Kentucky in the Senate. I’m not sure if he’s incredibly stupid or just plain ignorant. He has some libertarian leanings. This is how he can be comfortable with a return to segregation in the private sector, because he claims the government has no business regulating private business. Along the lines of private property rights, Paul is also in favor of carrying weapons onto private property of the owner approves and the return of smoking in private businesses. What Rand Paul and the rest of these private property rights wing-nuts need to consider before anything else is the health, safety, and respect given to visitors on private property. They don’t understand because they are a part of it but, greed trumps safety and human decency every time in the private sector world. The track record is there, there is no disputing this. Regulatory laws have been written to protect the rights, safety, and human respect for people because the private sector is incapable of performing these basic functions. Rand Paul, and his father, Ron Paul(R-TX), both have said they would vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act today because they feel it over-steps the boundaries of private property in favor of the government. God forbid, decency and respect have to be forced upon the private sector!

In conclusion, Rand Paul is politically a “dead man walking”. I don’t believe he can erase this black mark on his character. If the people of Kentucky are smart, they won’t allow this man to continue on his narrow path. He already insulted the residents of the Blue Grass State by referencing his love of the Tea-Bagger movement nine times in his victory speech and only mentioning the state of Kentucky once! So, Kentuckians, this candidate has already announced loud and clear who his constituency is, and it is not the people of Kentucky. It’s too bad. America could use another voice against the Pentagon, undeclared wars, and military occupation around the world. Oh well, he blew it be allowing the Tea-Baggers to get control of him. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

POLITICOS AND PUNDITS OVER-ANALYZE AGAIN!

May 19, 2010

The reason there is such a huge “throw the bums out” mentality in the country is because the media, pundits, and opportunistic politicians are fueling the emotions. The media has played the biggest part in this current hysterical movement. That includes all media, not just the ones with their own agendas. The fact the Tea-Bagger movement is identified by around 20% of the voting public, but receives about 50% of media attention is an embarrassing statistic. For about the past 50 years, there has been a static percentage, about 20, of Americans that view themselves as very conservative. So even with all the attention lavished on them from today’s media, it’s still only 20%! Is it because the movement has become more than just an anti-America anti-taxation movement? They now are including the NRA wackos, the white supremacists, and the racist anti-immigration wing-nuts. Remember, this is still just the same 20%!

It’s been an interesting and maddening experience watching the pundits pontificate on the primaries yesterday. As usual, they have way over-analyzed them. Just as they did last November with the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, they have put way too much emphasis on the “angry voter” outlook. The results of the primaries really show what happens when you have some candidates that are just better than others. The race in Arkansas for the Senate seat held by Democrat Blanche Lincoln is a study in what happens to a politician who shows no back-bone or no conviction. The voters in the state caught on to her trying to play both sides and now she’s paying the price. I’m not sure her primary opponent, Bill Halter really had to point out her inconsistencies. They were already in full view and comprehension. Is this a case of “voter anger” or a case of voters wanting a person to represent them that stays true to their convictions. Lincoln is basically a weak politician and it took a term in the major leagues to reveal this fact. Basically the same situation last fall in New Jersey with then Governor John Corzine. Why do the pundits keep trying to make more out of it than is there? I guess they are trying to retain their own viability. Anyway, Lincoln is going into a run-off with Halter June 8th, we’ll see what happens then. The races in Kentucky to fill a vacant seat in the Senate were only marginally more interesting. As usual, the media has turned the spotlight on that pesky 20% again! Because Rand Paul got the Tea-Baggers endorsement and then pounded the shit out of McChinless endorsed Trey Grayson for the Republican slot in the Senate race this fall. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first major race where a Tea-Bagger endorsed candidate has prevailed. Now another aspect of Kentucky politics has been unearthed. Senator McChinless has a horrible approval rating in Kentucky. His last run for re-election, 2008, he barely won. I believe in Kentucky, a McChinless endorsement is the “kiss of death”! The race for the Democrats in Kentucky is where the next Senator will come from. Both Democrats gained way more votes than Paul did as the landslide winner on the Republican side. Remember, 20%! That moves us the two races in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. First, the election to fill the District 12 seat left empty by the death of Congressman John Murtha. This election was never in question in spite of the media and the pundits trying to make us believe it will be a close election. Murtha, an old school Democrat, held the seat for many years. The district is a very heavy union presence. The Republican, Tim Burns, was endorsed by Palin and the Tea-Baggers which in essence killed him from the get-go. The Democrat, Mark Critz, a longtime Murtha staffer, was an easy winner. Duh! The race for the Senate endorsement on the Democratic side was close at first, then became a runaway for Congressman Joe Sestak over incumbant Arlin Spector. Again, the media and pundits will have us believe this is another “angry voter, throw the bums out” result. In reality, it is a result of a tired 80-year-old politician trying to hang on, he’s had two bouts of cancer and he jumped parties to pave the way to victory this year. The voters saw through the ploy and decided it was time for a different guy. Spector jumped parties because he feared losing to Pat Toomey, the Tea-Bagger endorsed Republican candidate, in the Republican primary. I’m not sure why, remember, 20%, and the Tea-Baggers and Palin have a terrible record with their endorsed candidates.

I don’t know about the rest you, but I’m sick and tired of sitting members of Congress complaining about the way things operate in Washington. Congressman Joe Sestak made a major part of his campaign for the Senate seat his disdain for the way Washington is. He is a part of that! He is a sitting member of Congress and therefore, a federal worker. He claims nobody wants to be accountable in Congress. Well Congressman, I haven’t seen you point the finger at yourself yet! In this respect, he is exactly the same as Michelle Bachmann(R-MN), the self-proclaimed anti-Washington Congresswoman. She has been apart of it for almost six years! Congresswoman Lunatic, YOU are part of your perceived problem. The people who support this wild-eyed loon have to be the dumbest people in America!

Two more political tidbits to slam the world of politics. First, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. This pinhead had the race won for the vacated Senate seat held by Chris Dodd. But, he got caught telling stories of being a Vietnam vet, when in fact, he never served in that war. When called on it, he simply said he “mis-spoke”! No idiot, you lied! Get out of the race now, and get a candidate in there that can beat Mrs. WWF! The second political story is actually quite humorous! Married Congressman Mark Souder(R-IN), resigned his House seat yesterday after confessing to boinking a married member of his staff. Souder is a devout Christian and is very conservative. He was a standard-bearer for the “family values” hypocrites of America. Come on, when are you family values people going to come clean? Perverted actions, cheating on spouses, engaging in homosexual situations, etc. have become very common with the family values ilk. They are lower than pond scum and I don’t want to hear any of the conservatives chastising Souder over this. You know the saying, those who live in glass houses….

Thanks for today’s read, and have a great day.
Cam Obert

TEA-BAGGER IMPACT ON MINNESOTA, SHEER STUPIDITY!

May 18, 2010

Tea Bagged Minnesota!

This year’s legislative session has come to a conclusion with the results being very disappointing at best. Once again, as with the cave-in by the Democrats on GAMC, the gutless cowards known as the DFL in the state legislature, has caved under the pressure of the tea-bagger driven dunce of a Governor. Let’s take a brief look at what is going to happen in Minnesota now as a result of these idiots in St. Paul not facing up to the truth!

Governor Pawlenty apparently got most everything he wanted. The Speaker of the House once again proved why she won’t be a good Governor. I’m not sure why under her leadership, Pawlenty and the wacko right keep getting their way in the negotiation process known as government. Obviously when the minority in the House is constantly getting their way in the budget and social legislation battles, you have to look at the DFL members and ask if they have gonads or spines. They have been pushed around and bullied by the right for years. I will give them some credit for last years denial of the Pawlenty cuts which led to the infamous “unallotment” tool used illegally by T-Paw. That was a short-lived victory because as the court over-ruled Pawlenty’s move, it piled that extra 2.5 billion dollars of debt on this years budget. That led to a total budget shortfall of over 6.5 billion dollars. Here’s how these gutless wonders handled this situation. Again, heads buried in the sand, they let Pawlenty and Emmers get away with more rounds of cuts! There simply isn’t that much left to cut. We’ve lived under twelve straight years of budget and tax cutting, what is left to cut? I guess public health care is now considered a non-essential service. I think the new belief in St. Paul is infra-structure repair and development is now considered a non-essential service. Keeping state parks and highway rest stops are no longer deemed to be important enough to fund and keep open. They added another round of cuts to Local Government Assistance, LGA, which most, if not all cities in the state count on to pay for such basic services as police, fire, snow plowing, and municipal road repairs, etc. Jim Miller, President of the League of Minnesota Cities, cited today that cities have already cut to the bone their budgets. They have covered for the lack of funding these past few years but that ability is no longer available as an option. The cities can no longer offer the services that Minnesotans have come enjoy as a security of living in Minnesota. Miller says cuts in municipal police, fire, and maintainance workers will start soon. Local taxes will have to be raised to cover what costs are left, but he says they can’t be raised to the point of retaining current levels of service. I think this paints a very dower picture of where the state is headed. We are no longer the “state that works”, we are now the “state that tries to hold on in spite of bad legislation”!

The present situation has gotten so bad that many of my Democratic friends are considering looking at the Independence Party candidate, Tom Horner, as the most viable candidate in the field. In my mind, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher and Tom Emmers are not even close to being the quality leader this state needs to pull us out of the ditch. Keep in mind, MAK, Emmers, and Pawlenty are responsible for getting us in the ditch. MAK obviously didn’t support the Republican agenda, but because she is so weak as a leader, the Republicans have run rough-shod over her. Tom Emmers has the support of the Tea-Baggers and the endorsement of “Top Quitter”, Sarah Palin. They are opposed to taxation and government spending. Minnesota has been in that program for the past twelve years. It simply does not work. The state has a revenue shortage and has for years. There are two solutions to this problem, shut down government altogether for good and rely on the private sector for services or raise taxes and start paying our way back to the quality of life we as Minnesotans used to enjoy. The first solution is all about the Tea-Baggers, Palin, Bachmann, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. They never think about the consequences of their moronic claims! The second option, raise taxes, seems to work for Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza. These are two smart guys with backgrounds in budgeting and accounting. Hmmm, which way makes sense for you?

More horrifying news, the Tea-Baggers have apparently gotten a firm foot hold into our state politics. I’m shocked the latest round of polls showing Emmers leading all the other candidates. Again, if people would only bother to read, study, learn, and understand the issues, these poll results wouldn’t be as they are.

This should be a slam dunk for the Democrats. They have the opportunity to get the facts out there. The Republicans have run this state right into the ditch. Why would an educated populace allow the current mess to continue? It simply doesn’t make sense! The Democrats need to get out there and tell the truth. They need to inform the voters of the state what it’s going to take to right the ship. Screw the naysayers and doomsayers! Tell the anti-American anti-government nabobs of negativity to go, in the words of Dick Cheeney, fuck themselves! They don’t know what they are talking about. The facts are clear, look at the results of eight years under Bush and look at the results in Minnesota of eight years under Pawlenty. Hello, is anybody home?

Have a great day, please refer to http://www.lettersfromlakedarling.wordpress.com for some actual facts about taxation that will be helpful for you and your research. Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

POLITICIANS AND CREDIBILITY…OR NOT ENOUGH!

May 17, 2010

I believe there are a lot of Americans that are fed up with the non-stop stream of bullshit coming out of Washington and the whole political landscape. Lets’s look at the Gulf oil spill. How they can make this into a political issue is beyond me. The conservatives are trying to savage the administration for not having the President at the explosion sight the day it happened. The liberals are spending all their time screaming about the issue of off-shore drilling in general. The President doesn’t really have anything to do with this situation other than to make sure the laws are enforced and that the ultimate responsibility for this disaster falls on the culprits, BP, Halliburton, and TransOcean. Why is this different from Katrina? Katrina was an “act of God” or nature. The government does have the responsibility for taking care of that situation. Oil spills are a result of human error, with private sector culpability. Why should Obama himself respond immediately to a man-made disaster? Hell, Bush took an eternity to respond to the ruins caused by Katrina, a natural disaster. Obama responded in the proper way. It’s BP’s problem, let them handle it and pay for it.

The Congressional hearings last week with the CEO’s of Halliburton, BP, and TransOcean was a comedy of bullshit. All three spent their time at the hearing blaming each other for the responsibility of the disaster. We know what happened. These companies used the loose regulations, found loopholes to cheat, took advantage of the lack of over sight from the government, and saved their way monetarily to a great ecological disaster. Right now, the government’s priority is to see that BP gets a handle on the gusher, and they get the Gulf cleaned up. The government will also have to be responsible for the timely settling with affected businesses in the region. This must be done considering Exxon is still in court with some suits regarding settling with those affected by the Valdez spill, that was twenty years ago!

The federal government, Congress, and the White House need to focus on a new, tough national energy policy. Whether it includes additional exploration and drilling on land or off-shore, there needs to be specific regulations to control the behavior of the oil companies. I hope Congress lifts the liability cap to an unlimited amount, that will start to get these cheaters’ attention. You’re probably wondering why there is a need for new energy policy?

The energy czar in the Bush administration, VP Dick Cheeney, and his cronies from big oil and coal, wrote the current energy policy. This was done in private meetings at the White House with the blessing and ignorance from President Bush. The coal mine explosions and the Gulf oil spill are directly attributable to these meetings. That brings up the second part of Congressional responsibility as I see it. They must hold hearings to reveal what actually happened in these secret meetings with Cheeney and the energy CEO’s. Here are some points that may be of interest. When Cheeney joined Bush in 2000, he was the CEO of Halliburton, an energy and military management company. Halliburton gave Cheeney a 34 million dollar cash bonus as a parting gift. Remember all the non-compete contracts Halliburton got from the administration to manage the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? This needs to be investigated. Duh! Halliburton, as a major manager in the energy industries, was also involved in the energy policy meeting led by Cheeney. Halliburton manages the oil business in the Gulf of Mexico. Hello! Can anybody connect the dots? You’ll also notice the once vocal opponent of the Obama administration, Cheeney, has disappeared since the coal mining disaster in West Virginia. I think he’s desperately trying to stay under the radar. He should be in prison! This is one of the most heinous abuses of power ever pulled in American political history! Is anybody home? C’mon Congress, get going!

The only way energy policy can be formed in this country is by a true bi-partisan effort. The money interests of the industry have to be eliminated from the process. This is a policy that needs to be truly in the interests of America, not special interests.

The politicians have to come clean with America. They have to stop taking money from special interests, lobbies, and PAC’s. America is longing from honesty and transparency. When the system is sullied by money, we get neither. The recent ruling by the SCOTUS of course makes the elimination of money from the process even more difficult. Just what in the hell were they thinking?

As the attacks from both political extremes ratchet up with the campaign season on and the appointment of a new Justice on the SCOTUS, it’s evident the sides have too much money to spend on these blistering negative attacks. Independent groups with lots of money are taking advantage of the loose rules regarding content of 527 advertising. With this type of campaigning out of control, you’ll notice nobody in politics is on subject or issue. It’s all attack then defend. Americans want to hear policy positions and the why’s and wherefore’s of them. I believe this is how disasters like the oil spill happen. Energy policy is a real thing that needs more than 30 second attack ads!

With the economy coming back, jobs being added by the thousands every month, the GDP growing, the stock market gaining ground, housing starts up, the recovery of the car business, reasons for Americans to be optimistic about the future, the political process is pulling us back. The call for the “throw the bums out!” and government is bad and evil simply holds the country back. Why not recognize the fact that the economy is coming back and the powers that be and the government are responsible for the road to recovery. But, it’s too easy to attack and be negative. I want my politicians to start telling the truth and drown out the naysayers and doomsayers that are really only pushing their own agendas.

Can credibility work? I hope so. I’m sick of outside influences forming policy and opinion in America. Thanks for today’s read, I look forward to reading your comments.

Cam Obert


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