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Minnesota Orchestra goes to lockout mode

I hope you’ve got plenty of Brahms and Rachmaninoff on your iPod. The MPR story, by Euan Kerr, says: “After Minnesota Orchestra management rejected a last-minute request for binding arbitration, it appears that the organization is headed for a lockout at midnight Sunday. After a 90-minute meeting in which management rejected the arbitration request and another request to continue negotiating with the terms of the current contract in place, musicians emerged to say that no deal had been reached. … Meanwhile, musicians and management at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra wrapped up a negotiation session Sunday by agreeing to keep talking past their midnight contract deadline. They will next meet to talk on Oct. 10.”

At the Strib, Graydon Royce says of the Minnesota Orchestra situation: “The two sides have been meeting since management offered an extensively rewritten contract proposal that would have cut average annual pay to $89,000, from $135,000. Musicians say that in fact, some players would see their pay cut by 50 percent under the proposal. … The Minnesota Orchestra has an annual budget of about $31 million. Management said labor costs consume 48 percent of the budget.” Well, the musicians are what I pay to hear …

The “Vote Yes” crowd on the marriage amendment will have a couple of TV ads up today. The AP says: "The group promoting a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Minnesota is debuting its first two TV ads of a heated campaign on Monday, one that argues it's important to keep the traditional definition of marriage between opposite sex couples only and another that mentions several ways that definition could be changed through legal or judicial means. Minnesota for Marriage campaign manager Frank Schubert told The Associated Press the group is spending about $175,000 to air the two ads throughout October. … Both ads avoid an aggressive tone, with one featuring a narrator who says that ‘everyone has a right to love who they choose.’ But together they argue that male-female marriage has been a building block of society for centuries.”

Ex-Viking Matt Birk, who is in favor of the amendment, offers his thoughts in a Strib commentary: “The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as "marriage" for a reason, and it's not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids. … Marriage is in trouble right now — admittedly, for many reasons that have little to do with same-sex unions. ... The effects of no-fault divorce, adultery, and the nonchalant attitude toward marriage by some have done great harm to this sacred institution. How much longer do we put the desires of adults before the needs of kids? Why are we not doing more to lift up and strengthen the institution of marriage? Same-sex unions may not affect my marriage specifically, but it will affect my children — the next generation. Ideas have consequences, and laws shape culture. Marriage redefinition will affect the broader well-being of children and the welfare of society.”

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie talked to the Duluth News Tribune about the GOP’s voting amendment. John Myers says: “Ritchie, a DFLer, and some county auditors say there are several other problems with the amendment that most people have never heard of — most notably the cost to taxpayers. Ritchie said the state is in for some major election headaches trying to account for absentee, overseas military and even rural voters who now vote by mail. And he said it virtually will eliminate same-day registration … [He] is encouraging all Minnesotans to find and read the full wording of the amendment ... ‘Not only will the actual words in the amendment not appear on the ballot, but the question on the ballot doesn’t address all the issues involved here,’ Ritchie said. For example, voters across parts of rural St. Louis County, in so-called unorganized townships, now cast all their election ballots by mail. But Ritchie said that may be impossible if the constitutional amendment passes because no one sees them vote; no one could demand their identification card. ‘There were amendments offered to solve many of these problems, but the Legislature voted all of them down. Now we have this very bad amendment question, and it’s either an up or down vote,’ Ritchie said.”

So is there a dangerous precedent lurking within the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the DFL to swap out the name of Kerry Gauthier on the November ballot? Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “The Republican candidate in a Duluth legislative race argued that if the high court approved swapping names it would allow parties to do that whenever they felt it was to their political advantage. Days after Travis Silvers urged the court to ban the swap, justices allowed it. In his official comments for a Minnesota Supreme Court case that eventually ended up removing Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, from the Nov. 6 ballot, Silvers’ attorney wrote that Democrats wanted to replace the incumbent to have a better chance of winning. ‘At the heart of this petition is the DFL’s desire to avoid further entanglements with the actions of Rep. Gauthier and to limit the risk of losing an election,’ attorney Sara Van Norman wrote. ‘If the DFL’s position is adopted, various candidates for various offices will now be able to be substituted by their party throughout the election as they commit errors of judgment and faux pas on the campaign trail.’ ” Of course those candidates not caught in a scandal would probably throw up quite a stink.

How bad off is White Bear Lake, The Lake? Real bad. Bill McAuliffe of the Strib writes: “Sometime this fall, probably soon, White Bear Lake will reach its lowest level on record — lower than the mark it reached only two years ago. But the course of the shrinking lake can't be entirely blamed on this summer's drought. …  Since 1980, growing communities in the northeast metro have more than doubled the volume of water they pump from the Prairie du Chien aquifer beneath them, pulling water from White Bear Lake and other lakes nearby, according to Perry Jones, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hydrologist. Jones just completed a two-year study of groundwater-surface water interactions, which found that since about 2003, White Bear continued to drop even in wet periods — a significant new trend. One reason: The city of White Bear Lake and nine surrounding communities pumped 2.6 billion gallons of water from the Prairie du Chien aquifer in 1980, but 6 billion in 2008.”

We’re No. 10 … and No. 12! The Bloomberg survey/poll says St. Paul is two slots more liveable/better than Minneapolis: “St. Paul may be the smaller of the Twin Cities, but the state capital is also cleaner and safer, if slightly behind Minneapolis in median household income.” Yeah … but good lord … those streets! And … “Known as the City of Lakes, Minneapolis has some the nation’s best parks and bodies of water. Add in the cold, and you get the local University of Minnesota’s combined eleven ice hockey national championships.” “Ice” hockey championships? That's what makes Minneapolis "Best"? Do these people even try to explain their thinking?

As you know, a currently popular point is that political polling is being cooked in favor of Democrats. This works hand in hand with the traditional, unequivocal, unabashedly, wildly liberal bias of the mainstream media. On his blog, Residual Forces, Andy Aplikowski criticizes GOP Senate candidate Kurt Bills for being too overt in his attack on the Strib: “Is the Star Tribune left leaning? Absolutely. Any honest person can sit back and compare the coverage of [Michele] Bachmann, [Keith] Ellison both ‘extreme in their own right and left principles …. something you don’t see in the failed liberal paper. Again, I can say that, Kurt Bills and his official campaign cannot. Think of how the Strib covered [Norm] Coleman to how it does [Al] Franken.  Klobuchar  now as the person in power to Mark Kennedy back in 2006, the roles reversed and so has the coverage. [Tom] Emmer vs. [Mark] Dayton with this unserious Tom Horner thrown in simply to confuse people who may accidently be draqwn to conservatism. You know, the only politicians who can really sell liberalism is the ones who call themselves independents or Republicans…… It doesn’t take a Doctorate or fancy tittle from a University to see there is a rush to debunk any GOP claim and aid any DFLer in most of the MSM today. But your campaign manager can’t say ‘its daddy’s paper’ or make prom queen references. Your campaign manager also can’t say a newspaper is ‘Pravda on the Mississippi' or if he does, he needs to do so with class, professionalism, and in a way that voters will take to heart.” Mr. Aplikowski brands his blog as a “stream of conscious.” I presume his fellow travelers understand what he’s trying to say.

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Comments (14)

Today is also the 5th anniversary of Freedom to Breathe...

...aka the statewide smoking ban. Since it went into effect, the adult smoking rate has dropped, the bar business has done just fine, thank you, and a lot of people are now working in places without a dose of secondhand smoke. A win for all.

I had the pleasure of meeting

I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Birk a few years ago at a fundraiser for John Kreisel. A more caring, genuinely nice guy you couldn't hope to meet. No surprise he'd fall in with those of us who let common sense guide our decisions.

Common sense on the

marriage amendment would lead voters to vote against it.

As Galileo purportedly said upon being forced by the Inquisition to recant his belief that the earth moves around the sun, "And yet it moves."

Many countries, Canada for example, and states in the US, e.g., New York and Massachusetts, now permit same sex marriage with no consequent erosion of morals or common sense evident.

"And yet it moves" Mr. Swift ...

Added later

I missed the reference to the John Kriesel fundraiser that you attended, Mr. Swift. I hope you know that he voted against the hateful marriage amendment because of his experience in the military with comrades who were gay.

But I guess Mr. Kriesel is just another leftist?

No Bill

John is not a leftist, he's a Republican in high standing that parts ways with conservatives on a few issues; but we're a tolerant bunch.

The fundraiser which Matt and I attended was to help buy John a house equipped to accomodate his disabilities; human biology didn't come up as a topic of conversation.

I could point out that the fact that there wasn't a single DFL politician in attendence is proof leftists didn't give a hoot about him until he became useful as a propaganda tool....

Of course, Mr. Swift,

Mr. Kriesel is not a leftist. That was what we call a rhetorical question.

Whether you talked about human biology or not, Mr. Swift, the fact is that Mr. Kriesel opposes the marriage amendment illustrates a couple of important points.

1. You don't have to be a "leftist" to support equal rights.

2. Intelligent conservatives - as opposed to what passes for such in the Tea Party or Paulbot wing of the Minnestoa GOP - realize that things are not black and white and that compromises have to be made. Mr. Kriesel has operated on this principle in other areas besides gay marriage.

I'm sure many people will be willing to vote for Mr. Kriesel should he return to politics. At the time of this fund raiser, Mr. Kriesel was a first term representative. His subsequent actual performance made him popular. People admire someone who is willing to go against the grain and not simply "just vote no."

I laugh at your assertion that conservatives are tolerant. Many of them were after Mr. Kriesel's scalp for failing to toe the party line. Can you say stadium funding?

People like John are badly needed on the GOP side of the aisle in Minnesota. There are plenty of good Republicans, even conservatives. They need to start taking back the party after the coming November slaughter.

Marriage amendment

The pro-amendment people have nothing but flimsy arguments to cover their homophobia. The amendment is just right wing posturing that solves nothing and changes nothing. But then again, the anti-amendment people are being self-destructively stubborn. The legal contract, the CIVIL UNION, provides the rights of co-ownership, next of kin, inheritance, beneficiary rights, and so on to it's signatories. Every marriage, regardless of genders involved, is a civil union. Marriage, on the other hand, is what happens in a church/temple/synagog when vows are exchanged and religion is involved. If the gay rights movement would have just insisted on equal treatment under the law, equal civil unions, there would not be all of the religious fundamentalists jumping on the anti- bandwagon.

Agree, but ...

the government needs to remove itself from the word 'marriage' altogether. We need to end all government sanctioned 'marriages' and allow marriage to be something defined by differing belief systems (different religions, churches, etc). Every union, hetero or same-sex, would be merely a civil union. Those opposing same-sex unions can stop whining and same-sex couples would, no doubt, still be able to find a church to marry them.

Of course, that's not likely to happen. It's not that the gay rights movement inserted themselves somewhere they don't belong, it's that government inserted themselves where they didn't belong some time ago. This conflict exists because government chose to give official sanction to what most people view as a religious ceremony. They did so for expediency and because virtually no one could have anticipated how our culture would evolve over the past few decades. And before those changes get 'swiftly' derided, I would contend they have made all of us more free as individuals (unless your idea of freedom is your freedom to restrict other folks) and more tolerant as a society. Those are changes, I believe, in line with the long-term ideals of the United States.

Not quite

Marriage and civil unions are not equal under the law. I would agree, however, that states should get out of marriage and only provide rights to civil unions. Let the churches fight over the definition of "marriage." Such a move would render moot any laws prohibiting marriage between same-sexed partners because it would move the term out of the legal arena and into the religious arena. No law can be made to limit the free practice of religious marriage.

I couldn't agree more, Tom

I too let professional athletes influence my decisions on societal issues. In fact, I'm very bitter the Twins released Tsuyoshi Nishioka before I knew where he stood on Voter ID.

That is irrelevant

Alan your point is moot since.religious organizations have ZERO right to use their views to determine secular public policy for anyone. The wall between church and state is there to protect fhe non religious as much as it is there to protect religion itself. Perhaps we should craft an amendment prohibiting Catholics from marriage to Lutherans or Methodists to Jews? That would of course be absurd, but no less so than allowing adherents of those traditions to do the same for same sex couples through legislation. In addition how do opponents square.their arguments for religious freedom against those faith traditions that ALLOW and indeed sanction same sex marriage? Does THEIR religious freedom get tossed by the wayside simply because you disagree? The argument simply has no constitutional ground on which to stand.

church and state

Matt, I agree that church and state should be seperate. In practice though, the preachers are telling their congregations how to vote and for whom. It's no accident that Santorum preached at Grace church in Eden Prairie before the caucuses and then went on to win the GOP endorsement for the district.
I like your amendment idea. If marriage is truely sacred, one religion should not be allowed to marry another, marriage should be required, and divorce should be outlawed. And if marriage is necessary for the "correct" raising of children, people past child bearing age or proven infertile should have to have their marriage annulled. Ridiculous.

I know this is elitist on my part,

but Mr. Aplikowski would only be doing himself a favor by spell-checking and grammar-checking his work before posting to his blog. If he can't take the time to do that, how am I supposed to believe he actually gave the issues any thought?

GOP should be careful what they wish for

In the long term, I think it's going to be a lot easier to get low-income urban voters and college students ID cards than to bus rural or exurban elderly folks to the polls. And the latter are a group that is strongly trending GOP even as younger generations trend democratic.

I'm opposed to this amendment because I don't think anyone should be disenfranchised, even those who don't agree with my politics. But I've been seeing real progress in voter registration drives on the part of the democrats this year in many states, usually beating GOP numbers. This may not roll out the way the GOP is hoping it will.