The Minnesota Grizzly Bear

Roaring about life since 2009

Leave of absence

I’ve mentioned it before, but since this is my last semester at MSUM I’m taking a brief leave of absence from this blog to really focus on my last semester and all the graduation issues that go with it.  And job hunting.  Oh boy.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back!

Have it good,

-Mike

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Opinion: ‘Defend to the Death,’ 2/14

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

This was the sentiment the French philosopher Voltaire expressed over 200 years ago in a political climate arguably much more divisive and volatile than today’s.

I’ve been thinking about that quote for the past few days for several reasons.  It’s a popular quote (which Voltaire technically didn’t say, it’s more a conglomerate of several quotes) that gets thrown around in editorials, academia, and political science term papers, but how many people really stop and reflect on the weight behind it or its implications?

I mean, sure I would lay down my life for family, friends and my god-given rights to life and property, but what about the one in between?  What about Liberty? 

Would you give your life to defend a Hollywood liberal’s right to express his views on single-payer healthcare even though it grates on your nerves?  A former radical-turned-tenured professor advocating higher taxes as a matter of “civic duty?”  And just so the liberals don’t feel left out, how about giving your life to defend the right of a pro-lifer or a neoconservative to express their opinions?  Or an advocate of 2nd Amendment rights to express theirs?  (C’mon, you’re going to need to protect your rights with something and I’d rather not use a big stick and some snowballs).

Does liberty mean enough to you that it would drive you to defend opinions and speech that are abhorrent to your own views?  Or would you only go so far as to only defend your own beliefs?  Think about that.  Give it some time to roll around up there.

The reason I started thinking about this issue is because of a few comments left on one of my posts from a new blogger.  This is a small blog, I know, and not too many outside my circle of like-minded friends are likely to read it so it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of self-perpetuating groupthink.  But how often do we listen to, and I mean really listen to our fellow Americans whose opinions differ from our own?  Without condescension or scoffing or name-calling?  It’s definitely hard and I’m guilty of ridiculing those to the left of me mercilessly, I admit it.  Yet I always try my best to avoid ad hominem and only go for the jugular of the issues themselves.  Is there enough respect and goodwill left in society to treat people decently even though they disagree? 

Unless you question your own beliefs, you can never truly believe in them.  So let others help you.  A civil argument once and awhile feels pretty good.

Have it good,

-Mike

p.s. – But don’t think for a minute that I support that misguided “fairness doctrine.”  It’s painfully unconstitutional.

 p.p.s – This post from mnDem is exactly what I wanted to read after drafting my opinion for today.

February 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

MN GOP Caucus attendance up from 2002

When I attended my precinct caucus on Tuesday I could definitely tell there were more people than last year, but nowhere near the numbers of 2008.  But apparently it was up over 20% from 2002 numbers, a year where MN saw a similar political situation as in 2010:

Eight years ago, just 15,862 Minnesotans cast their vote in the Republican gubernatorial straw poll. On Tuesday night, over 19,150 Gopher State residents voted in a precinct caucus GOP straw poll – an increase of 20.8 percent with 4,118 of 4,129 caucuses reporting as of late Wednesday evening.

Minnesota GOP Caucus Gubernatorial Straw Poll Voter Turnout Up Over 20 Percent from 2002

That’s definitely a good sign, but why the increase?  Even with the earlier caucus date and colder temperatures Republicans still turned up, so what drove us there?

My Answer: The remnants of the Ron Paul Revolution.

Why do I say that?  Because I’m one of them, and so were many of the faces I saw in the crowd on Tuesday night.  Yes, the firey passion has subsided and it’s not a presidential year, but the result of a massive bottom-up campaign focused on activism and word-of-mouth has left an innumerable crowd of conservatives looking for a means to continue their fight against the radical liberal excesses of the Obama Democrats.  So here we are Minnesota GOP, treat us well and we’ll do the same right back.

We got fired up and interested, and for many of us that interest hasn’t evaporated in us like it has in a majority of Obama supporters.  State Republican parties across the country are better off because of our increased involvement, for a great deal of the Ron Paul grassroots campaign was composed of younger people and college students that the GOP desperately needs to make inroads with. 

I was asked at least 5 times on caucus night why I came and why I was interested, because I was so much younger than the majority of others at the caucus.  A party in which it’s a surprise to be under 40 isn’t going to survive.  But that has started to change, thank gods, and needs to keep changing in the future if we’re going to remain a voice for growth and prosperity in Minnesota. 

Children are our future!  teehee.

Have it good,

-Mike

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

…talent?

…I have no words.  I don’t.  Wow.

Vagina Kazoo

 

Have it good,

-Mike

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Music, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

‘cash for failing businesses,’ redux

You’d think that the best move for an entity straddled with as much debt as the United States would be to develop financial responsiblity, watch its spending habits,  and cut back on unnecessary expenditures. 

Enter the world of Obama:

Lennar (LEN), the Miami-based homebuilder that has been gushing red ink since its misguided bets on house prices went bad three years ago, on Thursday posted its first quarterly profit since 2007

But don’t congratulate Miller. The entire profit — and then some — came straight from taxpayers’ pockets.

The real driver of Lennar’s rebound, as the company acknowledged Thursday, was a $353 million tax gain that stems from a bit of congressional largesse in November.

Handsome government handout for homebuilders

Pumping money into these failing companies whether through straight-up bailouts or tax rebates is the last thing we should be doing.  It is rewarding them for their failure and irresponsibility and unfairly distorting the free market in potentially destructive ways.

I can see theoretically why the Dems think this is a good idea;  just like in every debate there are at least two sides or points of view.  The thing is in this case, the Democrats and all the other Keynesian economists are simply wrong when it comes to their beliefs in government intervention in the economy and the markets, for so many reasons that it just staggers the mind. 

Have it good,

-Mike

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

hmm, It seems that I’m an artist

Friend of mine took this test, and it looks kind of like the Meyer-Briggs typology test  that I know and love so much so I said why not.  I think it turned out pretty close.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test…

NFPC – The Artist

Nature, Foreground, Big Picture, and Color

 

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on what’s in front of you (the foreground) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can’t control. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

The Perception Personality Types:

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Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

I do indeed like my nature and earth, hooray!

Have it good,

-mike

January 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

This looks familiar

Ok, here’s the team I knew earlier this year.  I was beginning to wonder…

Vikings beat Giants, get first-round bye

 

Have it good,

-M

January 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

corruption in D.C.? well duh

It took a whole study to figure this out?  Good gods, everyone knows that famous quote which has been beaten to death regarding politics – “Power corrupts.”  The problem with Democrats is that their ideology makes it so much easier to become powerful by believing that the government has the power to fix and legislate every little problem and facet of American life.  If, on the other hand, you believe in a limited sphere of government intervention and action, restraint is the word of the day.  You have less ability to make these deals because you have less power, and if you want to get elected again, you have to prove you talk the talk and walk the limited government walk.  Here’s the article from CATO:

There is a new study from a couple of academics at the University of Michigan, who found significant relationships between lobbying and bailout money, as well as a greater chance of getting bailouts depending on a bank’s ties with either the Federal Reserve or key members of Congress. Hopefully, people across America will draw the obvious conclusion and realize that big government is inherently corrupting[.]

University of Michigan Study Confirms Link between Financial Bailout and Corruption

Like I said before in a previous post, Obama is a classic product of the corrupt Chicago Democratic Machine.  Bribes, kickbacks, coercison and spin is the name of the game.  Don’t believe me?  For another fun one about the Healthcare fiasco,  look at what the Dems had to do to drum up (bribe?) enough support in Nebraska!

Nelson also won several other concessions, most notably a commitment from the federal government to fully fund his state’s expanded Medicaid population. All states get full federal assistance for the first three years of the bill — but Nebraska would be the only state getting full assistance afterward. One Democratic official put the cost to the federal government at $45 million over a decade.

Nelson Accused of Selling Vote on Health Bill for Nebraska Pay-Off

Come on guys, this isn’t compromise and debate, this is railroading a gigantic and detrimental piece of legislation through before anyone has any idea what the hell it is and who will really benefit.  Voting under the cover of darkness is hardly the sunshine Obama promised on the campaign trail.  But to be fair, he also said we would immediately withdraw from Afghanistan.

Ah, was that one of the dozens of banks that failed by any chance?

Have it good,

-Mike

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Asa-ku

I admit, I’m an amateur poetry-lover and few do it better than the Japanese.  While I was reserching Shinto on SacredTexts.com, I came across this book a few months ago and actually printed the whole thing out and guerrilla-bound it.  Which is basically a 3-hole punch and some yarn, haha.  Take a look, there’s some artful use of language even in those translations.

I took to reading a few pages every night before bed, and was struck by how much could be contained in so little space.  Kind of a linguistic minimalism, ala Joy Division or John Cage in music.  Even though Germanic languages are a  bad fit for syllable-based poetry, I tried my hand at writing some shortrune-poems in the Haiku style, trying to use a rune as the subject instead of a season, as is the usual Japanese custom.  Here are a few of my attempts at “Asaku” in the 5-7-5 syllable structure.  Most of them were written on tour last June 2009, while we were driving through the Arizona desert at night.

When our gods return

need-fires leap high and bright

Forge our loyalty

 

Sun sinks down and dies

mistletoe hangs its shamed head

a loss so divine

 

rough rock is worn smooth

our lives ebbing and flowing

in waters of wyrd

 

Poets burning blaze

fed by honey from above

’round the fire, enthralled

 

Golden mead drips down

feed our eternal hunger

until sunset, live

 

Angry jotuns blood

washes away all Order

food for growing grass

 

Alone on a hill

one-eye hangs through the cold night

captures blood-stained runes

 

Coldest flakes drift down

roads become death and danger

Hail grows and gives life

 

Have it good,

-Mike

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Still waiting for that card…

Here’s a great live video of Tom Waits celebrating the holidays Minnesota-style, singing “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.”  Enjoy!

Happy Holidays and Good Yule!

-Mike

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment