Bon Jovi and Gwen Stefani versus Sally’s Saloon and Eatery

Sally’s Saloon & Eatery, the venerable Stadium Village institution, apparently has some licensing issues, and it’s got Bon Jovi and Gwen Stefani mighty upset, sort of. According to FOX9, Sally’s is facing a federal lawsuit for its use of “Thunderstruck” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” all the way back in 2007 and “The Sweet Escape” last February, despite allegedly not having a license for any of these songs. What did they do with the songs? Well, it’s not completely clear. It might have been a band that covered it. It might have been somebody singing it during karaoke. But whatever the context, it might cost Sally’s as much as $90,000.

A little bit of context comes from a Malaysian website, for whatever reason: The Star Online points out that this lawsuit follows another, by “country hottie” Taylor Swift against an Idaho sports bar. TMZ has more of that story, in which BMI representatives found the bar was playing music they hadn’t licensed, and a copyright lawsuit resulted.

Why target little regional bars? A lawyer who represents these sorts of cases has an answer, as quoted by FOX: “The public is often misled by thinking these are greedy companies that are pounding on the little people to get money. That’s really not the case, it’s really like if someone created something outside of the music business and someone else tried to steal it, it’s that simple without paying for it.” Gosh yes. Singing an unlicensed song during karaoke is precisely like stealing an actual, physical object, so there’s no reason to think greed is involved when national corporations and multimillionaires join forces to sue small regional businesses for $90,000 for three songs. Glad that’s cleared up.

The Minnesota House has joined in the lawsuit against Tim Pawlenty for his unilateral budget cuts: The Associated Press reports that lawyers for the House prepared a 34-page brief arguing that the governor overstepped his authority when he slashed the last budget; the principal concern is that allowing these cuts to remain would give future governors “unfettered discretion” in likewise trimming the budget as they see fit. Interestingly, Tim Pugmire of Minnesota Public Radio explains that the Republican Party was especially hit by one of Pawlenty’s cuts: The Minnesota GOP made the largest use of a state tax refund for political contributions.

“It’s like crack,” one follower of the Tom Petters’ trial told the Star Tribune, and she’s right: It’s hard not to be a little disappointed as the trial winds down. There just hasn’t been a day that has gone by without something outrageous, and, since the Ponzi scheme at the center of this trial reportedly lost as much as $3.65 billion, the least we can do is try to milk the trial for maximum entertainment value. The defense rested on Friday, but not before Petters managed to blame his top executive for the crime (“She set me up,” he complained, according to the Associated Press). Petters also claimed that he had planned to tell the government about the fraud, also reported by the AP, but then, well, he got raided by the Feds. “The raid was unnecessary and a misunderstanding,” Petters explained, as reported by  John Welbes of the Pioneer Press, and haven’t we all been there? Haven’t we all been just about to spill the beans on our company’s multibillion-dollar fraud when, gosh darn it, the doors are knocked down by men with warrants?

Madeleine Baran of Minnesota Public Radio does a story about area homeless shelters, and you can pretty much guess what the story is: They’re running out of room. She quotes a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities: “The truth of the matter is we were full long before the recession started, and we are beyond full at this point.” Among the homeless: About 4,000 military veterans, according to a story last week from the Associated Press.

Everybody’s favorite complaint this time of year is about Christmas creep: The fact that preparations for the holiday come earlier and earlier, from advertisements to decorating to the ubiquitous playing of holiday music. Oops, make that Christmas music, because the latest example of Christmas creep is that discussions of the supposed war on Christmas have already started, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! What’s the complaint? According to Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey, the American Family Association has decided that Supervalu, which runs Cub Foods, is a “retailer against Christmas.” Why? Because they use the word “holiday,” rather than “Christmas,” to describe decorations on its website and in ads. As the AFA points out, replacing “Christmas” with “holiday” was started by the Nazis, which explains all those jackbooted thugs you see at Cub marching through the dairy aisle and flinging egg nog to the floor. And, just for clarity’s sake, the Nazis didn’t replace the word “Christmas” with the word “holiday;” Germans don’t call it Christmas, they call it Weihnachten, and the Nazis regularly put out Christmas publications.

We made fun of the long cat-and-mouse game Brett Favre played with the Twin Cities before signing with the Vikings, but, sonofagun, now that he’s with the team, he’s determined to demonstrate that he was worth it. You probably already know about the four touchdown passes Favre threw against the Seahawks on Sunday, which beat the NFL record for most games by a quarterback with at least four passing touchdowns, so let’s look to Twitter to see what people are saying about him: “How can you not love Brett Favre?“; “Favre may have been the annoying story in the offseason, but he flat out would get my MVP vote“; and “The correct way to spell favre………M. V. P.

In fact, fans were shouting, “MVP,” during the game, according to the Pioneer Press’ Sean Jensen. And that’s the not the only place where Favre’s name is ringing out: Jay Sorgi, published on WTMJ Newsradio, explains that if you’re a Wisconsin soldier serving in Iraq, detainees at a Wisconsin National Guard camp are going to constantly discuss Favre to needle you. He quotes a military official: “One of the big words they know now is shenanigan.  They’ll constantly talk about ‘Favre shenanigans,’ ‘He’s so good for the Vikings,’ and ‘The Packers have got to really feel bad about that one.’ “

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 11/23/2009 - 10:42 am.

    There certainly was the, um, scent of desperation in the air when Petters took the stand on Friday, eh?

  2. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 11/23/2009 - 10:45 am.

    A TMZ link, Max? Really?

  3. Submitted by Michael Ernst on 11/23/2009 - 11:52 am.

    The St. Cloud Times had a music licensing story just last week. It’s not the high quality journalism of TMZ, but…

    (Hurry, it goes behind the paywall soon!)

  4. Submitted by Grace McGarvie on 11/23/2009 - 12:11 pm.

    The American Family Association made me smile this morning. Christians stole the holiday of Dec. 25 from pre-Christian religions. The Winter Solstice had been celebrated as the birth of a “Divine King” long before the time of Christ. This time of year has been celebrated as the “return of the Sun God” in many cultures. It was Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor who first moved the celebration of Christmas to December 25 in 336 c.e. Now Christians complain that someone else is stealing Xmas!

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2009 - 04:33 pm.

    Yes Grace, during the early years of the Christian Era, the Roman church did indeed meld a few innocuous pagan dates and traditions into the dogma (yule logs and Christmas trees among the more commonly identified), but you’re missing the point.

    Christians, especially in America, are merely pushing back against the secularization of our society. Atheists and secular humanists are free to do their thing, but there is certainly nothing wrong with fighting for the traditions our country has enjoyed together since the Pilgrims set foot here.

    Dec. 25th is not the date Christ was born, it is merely the date the whole world celebrates His birth…..we call it Christmas.

  6. Submitted by Grace McGarvie on 11/23/2009 - 05:36 pm.

    Thomas – the pilgrims did not celebrate xmas.

    “The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston…

    After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.”

  7. Submitted by Mark Radosevich on 11/23/2009 - 06:08 pm.

    Dear Thomas,

    I didn’t realize that the country was undergoing “secularization”. I understood that the Pledge of Allegiance was a secular pledge until “under God” was added fifty years ago, nearly two centuries after the American Revolution. I thought many of this country’s revered founding fathers were Deists or even Humanists’ and didn’t believe in a literal son of god, born on a specific date some 200 years ago. They fought for a society that was equally open to people of all faiths, not merely Christians. I wasn’t there, but I doubt they had traditions of Christmas lights, or inflatable snowmen, or electric Santas that shout “ho ho ho” at passersby. Am I to believe that those first American patriots would have been horrified that a store might advertise holiday decorations instead of Christmas decorations? Didn’t those Pilgrims, whose traditions you say we continue to enjoy, cross the Atlantic to flee religious oppression? You pay lip service to atheists’ freedom of religion, but then suggest that a company that doesn’t explicitly kneel to your faith is committing an injustice worth fighting against. Don’t atheists and humanists have a right to buy their holiday decorations? Why must Christians keep the plastic yard decorations for themselves?

    The AFA’s preposterous pronouncement doesn’t make me laugh. Their ignorance of the past and shamelessness about making up historical lessons ought to be shocking and risible, but it is far too common a tactic of modern political argument. I’ve seen many laments over our schools’ shortcomings in teaching math and science, but it is in the study of history that our society most desperately needs remedial instruction.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2009 - 06:56 pm.

    Thank you Grace, I stand corrected.

    Allow me to amend by saying then, that there is certainly nothing wrong with fighting for the traditions our country has enjoyed together since June 26, 1870.

    Mark, yes, the country is in the throws of a leftist led secularization, but you’re right without doubt, regarding inflatable snowmen. I highly doubt they were seen much before the 1960’s.

    However festive lights were being displayed since the 1500’s by European Christians. Maybe to shed some illumination to “black Friday”, but probably not since they didn’t have wide screen televisions to sell then.

    Glad to have had the opportunity to be of service.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2009 - 07:01 pm.

    BTW, Mark…just what “holidays” *do* atheists and humanists have an interest in buying decorations for?

    You should send your suggestions into Obama’s website…he needs all the help he can get in in turning the economy around; he’s racked up quite the bill for is….as you may have heard.

  10. Submitted by Michael Ernst on 11/23/2009 - 07:01 pm.

    “Atheists and secular humanists are free to do their thing”

    So is Cub Foods.

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2009 - 07:39 pm.

    Correction..”he’s [Obama] racked up quite the bill for us [not is]….as you may have heard.”

    When it comes to a $3 Trillion dollar debt…the meaning of “is” has no meaning….it just is.

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/23/2009 - 08:04 pm.

    With all that tinsel being hung, it must act as an antennae that resurrects the cultural warriors during the holiday season. Sheesh…..

    Speaking of culture warriors..
    I’ll bet Mr. Glen Beck will have the best nativity arraignment on his television set that money can buy. Watch out Bill Reilly, Glen Beck will out Christmas every talk show this holiday season. At the very least Beck’s “production values” will not be outdone.

    Easter is on deck…..

  13. Submitted by Mark Radosevich on 11/24/2009 - 09:16 am.

    Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for asking about how I decorate for my secular holidays! I’m assuming you mean those holidays around the end of December, since holidays like Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, and so on, are rarely seen as part of the War on Christmas. Personally, I will celebrate the solar new year, or winter solstice, with a display of lights and candles on the night of the 21st. If I have time to make them, I’ll put a few tea lights in some ice shells outside my door. I won’t buy any decorations for the end of the calendar year, but I know people who do, and I appreciate the numerical change of date as much as anyone.

    Also, thank you for observing that European Christians have been displaying festive lights since (at least) the 1500s. I believe that non-Christians have been displaying festive lights for their own winter holidays for millennia, such as pagan observations of the winter solstace or the Jewish Festival of Lights, but now that Christians have claimed winter holiday decorations as their own, such displays are harder to see.

    I admit I wasn’t aware that our President would be interested in selling holiday decorations to atheists, but I’m sure he can manage that without my help.

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