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Ventura, transit fares among comment topics

Reader Roundup: Ventura, transit fares among comment topics

Transit fares, local broadband options, the state of the economy and a new hat – not a boa – in the senatorial campaign ring were among the topics inspiring MinnPost readers’ recent comments. Here’s a selection:

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Jesse Ventura’s flirtation with the Senate race caught the attention of many MinnPost readers.

Gregory Stricherz was among those commenting on Doug Grow’s Monday story, “Barkley to Jesse: Senate job is easier than being governor”:

Well, here’s one long-time Democrat who is no longer a Democrat who will vote for Jesse in a heartbeat. Didn’t vote for him for Governor but certainly will vote for him for Senator. The Democrats had a perfect candidate for the Senate in Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, but they threw him aside. Enough!

From Eric Ferguson:

Doug, you missed one question: is Ventura concerned that he would be splitting the anti-war vote and guaranteeing a Coleman win? As a follow-up, does Barkley know which champagne the Coleman campaign will be popping the corks on to celebrate Ventura getting into the race?

From Alan Perlman:

Jesse was the greatest embarrassment in Minnesota political History, bar NONE! When he did happen to say something with common sense and thought behind it or introduced a plan that made sense, he was only carrying out the script as produced by Barkley and/or Tim Penny, his very significant handlers while Governor. Vintage, negative Ventura, such as we will hear tonight, and heard throughout the second half of his term as Governor, were the only true thoughts and pronouncements that came strictly from the idiot. Fooled us once . . . shame on him. Fool us twice?? Not if he was the only one running!

From Ed Day:

Barkley’s right: If Jesse’s in it, he’ll win it.

Eric, you forget that in addition to a share of the anti-war vote, Jesse will also get a share of the “I hate taxes cuz government sucks” vote from Coleman. Combined with defectors like Gregory and 100 percent of the folks who wouldn’t vote if Ventura weren’t in the race, and The Body cruises to an easy 40 percent victory.

Jesse’s a walking soundbite, a tough talker with a tough-guy persona who’ll successfully deflect all criticism by whining about being victimized by the bullying RepubliCrats. No one else could get away with this. He’s the perfect candidate.

From Patrick Guernesy:

Well, today Jesse proved without a doubt that professional wrestling is FAKE!

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Jeremy Powers commented on Doug Grow’s later Monday follow-up story, “Ventura out, but ally Barkley set to run for Senate”:

Dean Barkley, who was mis-appointed to fill the term of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, said he is going to run for the U.S. Senate to give people a choice between a Republican lawyer who served in the Attorney General’s office and a Harvard-educated Democrat with five Emmys, saying people really ought to have the choice to vote for a guy who drives a bus for the elderly.

Matty Lang commented on Steve Berg’s July 10 story, “A dizzying cycle: As drivers shift to transit, prospective fares rise”:

It does not make sense to raise fares and discourage transit ridership. Ms. Thoman and TLC are on the right track in suggesting that subsidies to driving be eliminated in order to help fund transit.

Another helpful step to combat rising fuel costs and the resultant burden on the transit system is to push forward quickly with upgrading the Primary Transit Network routes to electric- powered streetcar lines like the city of Minneapolis has studied doing with its major local routes. Not only will streetcars provide more passenger capacity and attract more choice riders than buses, they consume no diesel fuel whatsoever. Electricity costs are much more stable and predictable than hydrocarbon costs of any kind.

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Don Berryman appreciated Pamela Espeland’s July 11 post, “Orchestra Hall, Dakota find common ground in jazz”:

Lilly is doing a heck of a job — keep ’em coming. It’s good that she and Lowell have figured out that there is much to gain from cooperation and partnering.

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Bernice Vetsch opined on Sharon Schmickle’s Monday essay, “Mortgage giants in crisis – yet the public seems locked in ‘whatever’ mode”:

At least Obama is honest about the Bush deficit debacle. It may take a decade to pay them off and AT LAST the wealthy will be asked to pay something approaching their fair share.

For “McCain’s large-scale reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” read privatization, destruction, completion of transfer of country’s wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich, and too bad if you get sick, old, widowed or disabled. Pull up those bootstraps, doggonit. We are all in this alone, as Woody Allen says.

Moreover, McCain says we must stop crippling business with our onerous regulations. (I guess he didn’t notice that the lack of same, due to legislation FORBIDDING regulation of lenders that his economic advisor, Phil Gramm, let Wall Street lawyers write in the year 2000 is the basic reason for both Enron and the current housing crisis.)

John Finn suggested additional reading:

James Kunstler’s Monday morning blogs are always entertaining, if not conducive to serenity. Today’s comments include ones on Fannie and Freddie.

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Tom Poe had this to say about the July 8 post, “Key parallels: The railroad and Minnesota broadband,” by Steve Borsch of Minnov8, a team of Web designers and consultants that contributes weekly to MinnPost:

If I plug in a $50 wireless unit into my wall socket, it just does whatever it does, and I’m set to go with a wireless cloud in my home and surrounding yard. If my neighbor does the same thing, we can communicate with each other’s computers at speeds tenfold faster than the [telephone and cable companies] offer. That’s broadband forever, for a single $50 purchase per house. It creates a local broadband infrastructure wherever there’s a unit. No Internet access, but some wonder if that’s necessary. A local broadband infrastructure sets the stage for those who want to connect.

The local hospital wants to gain access to a local broadband infrastructure to offer telemedicine programs to the community. Should they have to pay?

The telcos/cablecos would like to gain access to a local broadband infrastructure to offer Internet services at reasonable wholesale pricing for that access. Should we negotiate with them on what a reasonable wholesale price is for Internet access?

The task force might not be needed. Consider that the local broadband infrastructure makes it possible to create a virtual world, where every resident can sign in and literally carry on a conversation with any other resident with their computer and webcam. Heck, this application would enable town hall meetings to take place, videoconferences with city employees, their bosses, the mayor and the resident all discussing an issue that’s important.

The ability to create digital live interactive tv and radio shows, with everyone that signs in participating as a member of the audience for live shows. Did I mention live shows?

All things being equal, it seems like the task force might want to start with a statewide $50 per house broadband policy for local broadband infrastructure, and then plan how best to expand connectivity between communities. They might find it won’t cost taxpayers a nickel, and might even generate revenues that would pay for the infrastructure.

By the way, Ypsilanti, Mich., is doing this, and their local broadband infrastructure is operated and maintained by two not-so-geeky volunteers. You see, a local broadband infrastructure doesn’t need technical expertise to build, operate or maintain.

Oh, but, excuse me, we need to leave the decision-making to those who brought us the multimillion-dollar Twin Cities wireless network, and the telcos/cablecos lobbyists who are undoubtedly helping the task force become informed.

From Jim Hughes:

Pardon my cynicism, but to some extent I agree with the previous poster – there has to be a better way. What will the legislature do, other than offer big money to Qwest and Comcast to help them lock the whole state into overpriced, outmoded systems for years to come?

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Amy Goetzman’s Monday post, “Lin Enger’s frozen hamlet hits home,” prompted this comment from Patrick Coleman:

Amy, this reminds me of what the great critic of Minnesota literature, James Grey, wrote in 1937.

“No doubt the conviction is strong in the true believer’s heart that when ‘the Heavenly Muse’ finds herself in Minnesota, she wearily gets out her make-up kit and prepares for a lugubrious session celebrating the sorrows of the soil and of the soul. The costume assigned to the Minnesota Muse, in the regionalist handbook, is a decent, though shabby, Mother Hubbard. She sings exclusively of ruined wheat harvests and she sings of them with a strong Swedish accent.”

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Ric Schafer commented on Monday’s Community Voices essay, “Housing assets should help finance long-term care,” by Peter Nelson, a policy fellow with Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis:

HERE’S WHAT THE BILL SAYS: Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) reauthorizes “LTC Insurance Partnerships,” strengthens “undue hardship” protections for Medicaid recipients, extends Medicaid’s transfer of assets look-back period from three to five years, starts any applicable eligibility penalty later to prevent “half-a-loaf” give-aways, drops the home equity exemption to $500,000 from unlimited, and closes abusive Medicaid eligibility “loopholes” such as “transfer assets before income,” “Medicaid-friendly annuities,” “life estates,” “partial-month transfers,” and “self-canceling installment notes.”

HERE’S WHY THAT’S A GOOD IDEA: These minor modifications to Medicaid’s hemorrhaging eligibility system are long overdue and critically needed to begin a long process to restore and preserve the welfare program as the long-term care safety net for the poor and to incentivize prosperous citizens to save, invest and insure for long-term care so they will be able to pay privately for quality care when they need it.

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Phyllis Stenerson added this to Tuesday’s From Our Partners post by James Sanna of the Twin Cities Daily Planet: “Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder turns 75”:

Congratulations, Spokesman-Recorder, for your essential contribution to our community and nation. You tell stories and report information that people need to hear. Thank you for quoting Nellie Stone Johnson, one of the finest women I’ve ever known. And the most fun! She deserves to be remembered and honored.

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Gail O’Hare commented on Steve Berg’s July 11 MinnPost.World essay, “Is something wrong with the economy, or is it just our imagination at work?”:

Even David Stockman, the boy wonder who sold supply-side economics to Reagan, ultimately admitted it was smoke and mirrors. I can’t understand how anyone was duped by this myth when GWB revived it, nor why McCain continues to push it. The “strong economy” of the past few years has benefitted a very small percentage of Americans. We’re worried because we have reason to be.

John Olson added:

Graham need only look at his own company’s stock price to know that the recession is not mental (Ticker: UBS, 52-week range: $18.52-$62.34, closed July 11 at $19.49/share).

To those who have lost their homes through foreclosure, it is not mental. To those who have lost their jobs, it is not mental.

This is very real and it is going to be a lot more painful for all of us before any healing can begin.


Regardless of who gets elected in November, the victor will inherit a wrecked economy, Iraq and everything that goes along with both issues. Whoever loses the election may actually (by that time) walk away and say to himself, “whew, glad I don’t have to deal with THAT.”

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On a related topic, Jason Walker commented on Eric Black’s Tuesday post, “Senate race: Two polls, different results, many cautions”:

For a couple of reasons, I think these polls are completely skewed. For one, if pollsters call land lines, that’s shutting out a huge segment of the population – young people, who likely only have cell phones. I am 28 and haven’t had a land line since 1999. If they’re only talking to older-leaning voters, then there’s a good chance the poll will lean Republican. And if the pollsters do call cell phones as well, does anyone pick up? If I get an incoming call of a strange number, I don’t answer.

Second, who listens to a robotic voice? I’m guessing the people here are even older. If I hear a robotic voice on an incoming call, I’m hanging up. Won’t only the old and lonely listen long enough to vote? I know that’s an extremely broad generalization, but I just put little stock in phone polls in the cell-phone era.

Bruce Johnson added:

There is a wonderful bit of video from Norm’s last campaign that is included in the documentary “Wellstone,” by Hard Working Pictures. In it Norm stands with his arm around George Bush and says, “When we sing ‘God Bless America’ that’s a prayer and this man is the answer to our prayers.”

I haven’t been impressed with Franken’s ads or speeches but his campaign organization is turning out a lot of people to canvass at summer events. It shouldn’t be hard to exceed the Norm if people pay attention to his lack of principles and opportunism.

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