Outrage: Tales of travel, politics and sports

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and, with it, travel. Alas, if you’re thinking of heading out of town then, there may be a few glitches. Firstly, and most obviously, there is the weather. It was a bad weekend, with an ice storm that cost two lives and caused hundreds of crashes, detailed by Nick Ferraro and Megan Boldt of the Pioneer Press. Sven Sundgaard of KARE11 is predicting more snow starting late Wednesday and on into Thanksgiving.

But it isn’t just weather that might slow down holiday travel. There’s also outrage. Specifically, folks are not happy about the new full-body scanners at the airport that produce images of travelers that are similar to nude photographs — and they mean to say so. As the Associated Press reports, a lot of people are calling for a general boycott of the scanners, which would require security to pat them down instead. A spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents explains why this might be a problem: “Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays.” Which seems to be the point of a boycott — after all, protests aren’t very effective if everything continues running smoothly despite them.

The outrage over the scanners has already gotten some traction, with both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing sympathy for those uncomfortable with the scanners. The Washington Post, republished by the Pioneer Press, reports on a fix that has been suggested by a researcher: It would apparently be a simple matter to adjust the scanners so that the images produced are distorted. “Why not just distort the image into something grotesque so that there isn’t anything titillating or exciting about it?” asks the researcher, who is apparently unfamiliar with Rule 34 of the Internet: “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.” Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole recently gave a conference, reported by the AP, in which he managed to simultaneously say that they’re not going to change their policies, and that’s the just the way of the world, and that they are looking for ways to change their policies. Specifically, they’re working to make screenings “as minimally invasive as possible.”

While we’re on the subject of outrage — well, on the the rest of the news, where outrage seems to be very much in fashion nowadays. For instance, Andre Eggert of the Minnesota Daily describes the anger of Minneapolis residents who are experiencing increases in their property tax even as their home values are declining. (in fact, University of Minnesota students are suing the city, charging illegally inflation of home assessments). Eggert reports on a packed city council meeting, where Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak sympathized with the outrage: “People are plenty pissed off, and they should be.” MinnPost’s Jeff Severns Guntzel covers the emotional session, too. Rybak proposed a 7.5 percent levy increase, but only in case there is a drastic cut in state aid. And that probably depends on who winds up governor.

Speaking of which, where are we on that? Well, Tom Emmer and the MN-GOP are asking for recount rules to be changed, taking inspection of challenged ballots out of the hands of the state’s 87 county auditors and putting it into the hands of the five-member canvassing board. Why? Well, for one thing, according to Andy Birkey of Minnesota Independent, it might make the recount process take longer. Emmer and the GOP are also calling for a search for “phantom votes,” that is, counties where there are more votes cast than there are registered voters, although they have produced no evidence that this has happened. According to Mike Mulcahy of Minnesota Public Radio, at least one county has balked at this. Ramsey County officials are asking the court to dismiss the GOP’s petition, saying it would “disenfranchise Minnesota voters.”  Anoka and Hennepin counties have also filed documents rebuffing Emmer and the GOP, as has DFL candidate Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

But what are we worried about? Once again Tom Emmer has asserted he is not looking to slow down the recount process, most recently on “Almanac.” Well, whatever his intention, the recount may actually be a pretty speedy one — after all, this is the second one in two years, and, as MPR’s Mark Zdechlik points out, there are as a result new rules that are designed to discourage frivolous challenges.

We discussed another source of outrage last Friday — a website in which a couple purported that they would make a decision whether to terminate a pregnancy based on an online poll. There is a preponderance of evidence that the site is what people suspected: a hoax by anti-abortion activists. City Pages sums up the evidence, with additional evidence here. They also offer a handy timeline of the hoax.

Let’s close out the news section with an especially extreme tale of outrage: According to the AP, a motorist was arrested for pointing a gun at another driver in St. Cloud Sunday. No reason is given, except road rage. So keep your eyes open for that sort of thing on Thursday as well, as drivers with guns can also slow down holiday travel.

In arts: Firstly, one last update to the story about rapper Eyedea, who was recently determined to have died of a drug overdose. We at the Glean pointed out that it’s the sort of overdose that can be caused by an interaction between legal drugs, and, according to his family (reported by Mara H. Gottfried of the PiPress), that is, in part, what happened.

Blogger Michael Fishman offers up a post about the two uncles of Minnesota independent bookstores: Uncle Hugo and Uncle Edgar; for those unfamiliar, these are the names of two bookstores coupled within one building near Lake and Chicago — the first specializing in science fiction; the second, in mysteries.  Fishman uses these two stores to discuss the declining sales of books, as well as the closing of local independent bookstores.

In sports: Well, there’s more outrage. Kevin Hoffman of City Pages quotes an angry tweet, which includes the following: “Grown ass men shouldn’t need outside encouragement. Need to be self-motivated and know what it takes to be a professional and practice your craft.” The Tweeter was, of course, discussing the Vikings. Worse still, the tweeter was Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. The Vikes’ recent losing game against the Green Bay Packers put, as Brian Murphy of the PiPress describes it, “a season’s worth of issues on display.” Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (republished in the PiPress) is even blunter: “Vikings are done. Let’s see if Favre can disprove it.

As for Favre? He says it’s time to re-evaluate.

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/22/2010 - 10:37 am.

    Say, Bunny?

    Why do you think Hennepin and Ramsey County officials, DFL candidate Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie want to ignore Minnesota state laws?

    It’s all written down, right here in fact (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=204C.20) so people can look it up in case there are any questions later…

    It’s a step by step instruction that is surprisingly succinct…the scary smart, reality based Hennepin and Ramsey County officials, DFL candidate Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie should have no trouble following the law.

    Some people might suspect they are trying to pull something shady.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/22/2010 - 11:08 am.

    Oh, and Bunny?

    As a proud leftist citizen of Minneapolis, don’t you think it would be a civic duty to write a “Community Voices” piece reminding your ilk that being better, and nobler than everyone else involves emptying your pockets for the betterment of “the commons”?

    Seriously, given the politics of the city, I can’t imagine where all those people came from to tell the city council they are not happy to pay for a better Minnesota.

    Haven’t they seen the signs?

    We expect that the next session will be balanced by people shouting “7.5%? Hell, let’s go 10!”

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/22/2010 - 11:20 am.

    Having now read the statute in question, ‘twould seem to me that, if anything, it’s the GOP that’s having trouble following the law – the proof thereof being the request to change the rules – clearly stated in the law, I agree – and put the recount of challenged ballots in the hands of the canvassing board.

    The scary-smug and conspiracy-delusional segment of the population would appear to be, phrased politely, sore losers.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/22/2010 - 12:23 pm.

    Ah, Ray, I guess that’s why we need the Supreme Court to step in.

    You can always try change the law; it’s a core principal of Democracy. But while the change is being argued, we are still supposed to follow the existing law…seems pretty simple to me but no matter how succinct you make them, there is always going to be those that can’t read the instructions before they plug the toaster in.

  5. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/22/2010 - 12:54 pm.

    Mr. Swift has an interesting conjunction of ideas–first, the idea that sneaky malfeasance is hiding within the taking the of the cheaper and Pawlenty-approved shortcut, and second the snide comment of how the “lefties” want to him to pay for “the commons”.

    Isn’t it interesting that the search for cheap and fast are often at odds of “the commons”? Perhaps Mr. Swift may not see it, but isn’t it interestingly ironic that Mr. Swift wants no stone unturned in his search for “fairness” but is not willing to pay for “the commons” that ensures it?

    It is an especial delicious irony that the party that seeks redress for the “wrongs” is going to the courts that they have systematically starved of cash for years using the very justice (now lawyer) who so ably complained to his appointer of the lack of money that would eventually effect the speed and nature of justice.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/22/2010 - 03:38 pm.

    Yeah… my aunt’s brother-in-law’s sister’s cousin’s 16 year old daughter said that she overheard somebody, somewhere talking about how something had happened at some precinct in New Prague (or was it New London) – one of those “new” places anyway..

    So I’m convinced we better hold a new election (or at least throw out a few thousand votes) to be sure that MY side wins this time. If we don’t it’s clear to ME that the “lefty’s” stole the election (again).

    (Sacrcastic snark intended).

  7. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 11/22/2010 - 05:52 pm.

    “It was a bad weekend, …”

    Yes, it was, and scary as heck! I was driving home from work on the night in question. A drive that normally takes me 30 minutes ended up costing me two-and-a-half hours of stressful tension. I am appreciating my small and steady, stick-shift economy car more than ever now!

  8. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/22/2010 - 05:56 pm.


    Bunny 1, Swifty 0

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/22/2010 - 09:50 pm.

    The State Supreme Court took one and a half hours to reach it’s verdict today. Three of the five Judges presiding today were appointed to the bench by Governor Pawlenty.

    This is a good example of what happens when political parties and citizens who don’t actually understand a topic start to persuade each other. A true conservative is one who’ll stand up for industry and personal responsibility from the plaintiff’s table.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2010 - 09:55 am.

    Ah, Dan, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Were Mark Dayton is concerned, there really is no winning point for leftists to make.

    If Dayton doesn’t win the election, the left loses…if he wins the election, the left loses and we all gain the prospect of a hi-larious couple of years watching the spectacle of Dayton’s lack of coping skills.

    With all due respect, I’m guessing bunny might agree he doesn’t need cheerleaders at the funeral.

  11. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/23/2010 - 12:27 pm.

    Say, Swifty?

    You do understand that while in your mind it is ok to keep changing the argument after you lose, your comments are still there for everyone to read, right? When someone is as completely wrong as you were on this point, and delivered their arguments with the same dripping contempt that you usually do, one might think that a little humility is in order. Not so much, I guess.

  12. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/24/2010 - 07:09 am.

    There does not appear to be much coverage on Minnpost, or concern in the comments, regarding the TSA’s invasive full body scans and pat-downs.

    The best quote from the quoted Washington Post column, suggested by a “researcher”, “It would apparently be a simple matter to adjust the scanners so that the images produced are distorted.” Wouldn’t a distorted image be much the same as no image? Makes the decision on where to wear the item to be smuggled simple. You can’t make this stuff up, the government hires a researcher to say it.

    Two things make airplanes safe in the post-911 era of air travel. 1) Cockpits have a secured door. 2) Passengers know the game, and some are willing to step up and smack down.

    Where is the outrage from those decriers of the Patriot Act, and other Bush era invasions of privacy? You know, the stuff that was used to galvanize the Bush hatred. Warrantless wiretaps, terror suspects held in Gitmo, the war in Afghanistan. Those have all ended, right? What about civilian trials in NY City for terror suspects? We are doing that, right?

    Everything that Bush was hated for continues today, and in most cases on a grander scale. But, we’re OK, because we hoped for change.

    Happy air travels.

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