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Minneapolis

Minnesota’s Mill City, plus the Capital City, and the surrounding MSA.

Two Kinds of Liberty

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/02/libertarians-are-not-libertarian.html

In the comments, Vox writes that libertarianism is, “the political ideology based on the principle of maximizing human liberty.”

Which inspired commenter cailcorishev to write:

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Ron Paul Sweeps SD 60

Minnesota is a caucus state. That means it selects its delegates to a national political convention through a cascade of smaller elections. Last month I went to the lowest, grassroots caucus of the Republican party. I was elected a delegate and had a right to vote in the next tier of the election cascade.

That election was held yesterday. Since this is a redistricting year and political unit boundaries are redrawn, the first order of business was to establish rules and adopt a constitution for what is now the Minnesota Senate District 60 Republican Party (SD 60).

I enjoy rules and rulemaking, so this was not tedious. Parliamentary procedure was a bigger factor in this convention than in most neighborhood meetings, but less strict than the government meetings I watch on public-access TV.

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Early Spring Takes OWS by Surprise

It is 72° with sunshine in Minneapolis. An unseasonably perfect day. Everyone who can be outside is outside.

Except the Occupy Wall Street protesters. If they can’t suffer, I guess they don’t feel like they make a difference. Or they’re somewhere else wearing hair shirts over globalistical warmening.

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Failed Bridge Exemplifies Smart Investment

Sabo bike bridge showing cable-stayed design.Another bridge in Minneapolis has failed. You probably didn’t hear about it, because: a) nobody died; and, b) it served only a small handful of people.

It’s a bike and pedestrian bridge crossing a major arterial and a light rail line. It was as much a public art project and a pander to the green factions as it is a segment of infrastructure.

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Throwing Myself Upon the Gears

I attended my local caucus last night. It was my first experience in official party politics.

The bottom line: I was elected as a Delegate. There are no bystanders.

Other highlights and musings to come…

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No Cause for Shame

The Barrister at Maggie‘s Farm links to a collection of photos of the previous Penn Station in Manhattan. He begins by quoting a NY Times editorial:

"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn't afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."

—"Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

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Carter Recalls Ambassador to Moscow

Twin Cities TV news from January 2nd, 1980:

Maybe the phantom of the past is not ready to let us go:

Carter feared that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in which an estimated 30,000 combat troops entered that nation and established a puppet government, would threaten the stability of strategic neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan and could lead to the USSR gaining control over much of the world's oil supplies.

Thirty years later, the news is the same, even including the threat of nuclear attack:

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Caucus for the Constitution

I don’t like political parties. I understand why they exist in the United States, but they ultimately serve themselves more than serving the people. But I may attend my first party caucus next week.

I want to support the Constitution and it quirky proponent, Ron Paul. He can’t win, he’s crazy, he will get us all blown up by Iranians, blah, blah blah. But if I have integrity to my belief in our Founding Principles, and if this really is The Most Important Election Ever! I must go support the candidate who best represents my view. There are no bystanders.

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The Minneapple Giants

Our Mayor is in a contest with State electeds to see who can offer the Vikings the sweetest deal. Rybak keeps offering up new sites and new funding mechanisms, but one thing he just will not do is let the public weigh in:

And then there’s the nearly $1 billion football stadium somewhere downtown that would continue to bolster the economy.

“People pay me to look big problems in the eye and come up with a solution,” said Rybak. He said he is willing to make changes in the proposal and points out that he has already backed off the idea of funding the package with a casino on Block E and has remained flexible on the three proposed Minneapolis locations.

But he has said he is against the idea of a referendum, saying that citizens will get their chance to vote when he stands for re-election.

Everybody knows the next Mayor is going to be Gary Schiff, anyway. Schiff opposes taxpayer funding of stadia, but if R.T. signs a deal, it is too late for an election to save us.

The saying goes that without all these luxurious downtown amenities, Minneapolis would be a cold Omaha. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. Our civic bigshots view our town as something bigger than it is. Like this…

New Yorker magazine stylized map of Minneapolis at the center of the world

H/T: Nokohaha

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Six Veeks of Vinter

If I cross Groundhog Day with railroading and view the result through a fuzzy Minneapolis filter, I see this:

For Minnesota kids, Casey Jones was a friendly TV host, named after a legendary railroad engineer.

One of the most beloved figures in local television was a man who portrayed a railroad engineer, dressed in a pin-striped jacket, cap and overalls, with a red 'kerchief around his neck, and called himself "your old buddy, Casey Jones."

Minneapolis GOP Sleeps Through Election

On January 10th there was a special election to fill vacant seat in the Minnesota Senate. Nobody noticed:

Kari Dziedzic easily won a special election on Jan. 10 to become the next state senator to represent Northeast and parts of Southeast Minneapolis.

Dziedzic (DFL) took 79 percent of the vote while Republican Ben Schwanke collected 19 percent.

In total, only 4,273 votes were cast on an unseasonably warm January day. That’s less than 10 percent of the 45,000 registered voters in Senate District 59.

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Exiled from the Unicorn Farm

From the OccupyMN people:

In response to the news coverage over a box of bricks found on the plaza, orchestrated by a press release from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office: We would like to reiterate that we are, and have always been, a completely non-violent group. The box was brought onto The People’s Plaza by an outsider and his individual action does not represent the  views or goals of our movement.

We will continue to make our voices heard as the 99% fighting for a better world and look forward to having all of you join us here in Minneapolis.

How many outsiders does it take to drop the 99 to a 98? Doesn’t the one who brought the bricks count as a person? It’s the People’s Plaza, not the Some of the People’s Plaza, right?

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Moving Back to the Country

As someone who grew up in a city and ended up in a rural area, I can talk about what it’s like to make such a move. These days it is much easier to live in a rural area now that we have the Internet and email available to keep us connected. What initially seemed like a problem, the lack of good shopping, is less of a problem because even when I do get to the good stores I want to patronize, they don’t seem to have what I want. It’s much more convenient just to order on the Internet. The major problem of rural areas, then, is simply the lack of good restaurants, for which I have no solution other than an occasional trip to a big city.

Big-box shopping is often dismal. They stock everything, but only the thre most popular sizes or styles. I have friends who live a mile or few away from me in the big city, and I rarely see them, but stay in touch thanks to the intertracks.

I have some foodie pallys, and after a recent dinner, they agreed that the best measure of a city was its dining scene. Myself, I don’t go out much anymore.

Perhaps I should consider escaping the planners, the criminals and assorted leftoid nags that define urban living.

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Poisoning Public Transport

I’ve seen several headlines about two Delta Airlines employees ambushed by a gang of teens while riding Atlanta’s commuter rail.

Borepatch, an expert in computer security, sees the incident in those terms:

Security types call this a "Resource Poisoning" attack, where something that was previously valued and trusted becomes worthless because of abuse.

Crime need not be actualized for resource poisoning to occur. If the environment feels unsafe, people choose not to take the trip.

Minneapolis Riverfront in the Days of Disco

The now-demolished Great Northern Depot in downtown Minneapolis could inspire many posts on railroads, how changes in transportation technology changed the role of railroads, and how that allowed planners to re-purpose land at the core of cities, specifically Minneapolis, since this depot stood at the gateway to Northeast Minneapolis. Those changes were driven by economics and politics.

But I’m not ready to launch into any of those. I just happened across an archive of photos of the Great Northern Depot from the 1970s. It was one of those times where I was following the intertracks without a destination in mind, and found a treasure. For railfans and history buffs, at least.

Mainstream preservationists and historians—if that’s not an oxymoron—seem mostly interested in façades. I’m more fascinated to understand how the buildings worked.

1978 view beside Post Office looking upriver toward GN Depot

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Planning FAIL — Boston Edition

Boston, like nearly every U.S. city, ripped out large swaths of its core to accomodate motorists in the 1950s and 60s. Boston’s downtown freeway was called the Central Artery (a great name, that sounds even better in the native accent). In the 1970s, Boston, like most places began to realize that freeways tend to break up the organic pattern that makes urban living interesting and attractive.

So the planners came up with a plan to correct the plans of the planners who tore out the city’s guts to build interstates. They would bury the Central Artery. Put the traffic underground, and instead of a noxious concrete wasteland dividing neighborhoods, there would be an open green space at ground level to re-unite Bostonians.

Minneapolis dreamers have a similar vision. I’ve seen sketches of a park built over I-35W around 35th to 38th Streets. It would expand an existing park (MLK) and repair a gash in the Field, Regina Northrup neighborhood. Since we just reconstructed I-35W in south Minneapolis, that plan will be locked in the dream stage for at least a few more decades.

Which is good, because in Boston, all they did was change the color of the barrier from gray to green:

Minneapolis Planning Fail

I used to be one of those urban snobs who would rant about the god-forsaken suburbs. I could go on and on about treeless cookie-cutter tracts of sterile garage doors hiding soulless monotony that passed for neighborhoods. Now I am wiser.

The suburbs have advantages, and the form of development is a minor factor in quality of life. I still prefer the city, but I am not so arrogant about it. Planners and the electeds who hire them, however, are still filled with hubris.

For the decade-plus I have been involved in neighborhood activism, at the grassroots of urban planning efforts, I have seen millions poured into subsidizing development in Minneapolis. We’ve turned abandoned downtown railyards into residential neighborhoods, home to tens of thousands. We built a light rail line to connect the Minneapolis core to the other major regional amenities.

Nuclear Disaster in Marhsall Terrace

A couple of years ago, the Riverside Power Plant in the 55418 was converted from coal fuel to natural gas. It had burned coal and coated the Marshall Terrace neighborhood with ash and dust for the previous eight decades.

It never made headlines as a radiation hazard. But it was:

In a 1978 paper for Science, J. P. McBride at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and his colleagues looked at the uranium and thorium content of fly ash from coal-fired power plants in Tennessee and Alabama. To answer the question of just how harmful leaching could be, the scientists estimated radiation exposure around the coal plants and compared it with exposure levels around boiling-water reactor and pressurized-water nuclear power plants.

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Ellison’s on Their Side

Keith Ellison represents the 55418 in Congress. He’s the first Muslim to serve there. Ellison made some headlines recently for crying—really, he shed tears on camera—in a Congressional hearing over the perceived demonization of Muslims in the United States. He feels that Islam is mis-characterized and Muslims can be American heroes just like anyone else.

Ellison is outspoken about the rights of not only Muslims, but of women and many minority categories. Including homosexuals. He believes that gays deserve the whole raft of privileges granted to non-gay people. Like the right to marry.

Mr Ellison is a proud Progressive. But the Prog agenda is at odds with the Holy Koran. Under Islam, not even “radical” Islam, homosexuality is a crime against G-d. Gayness is punishable by death. So the matter of their right to marry is moot.

It is not possible to serve two masters. Is Ellison a Muslim? Or is he a Progressive?

It’s not just a matter of overlooking some aspects of politics in favor of a greater good. There is no compromise with death. And Ellison actively, aggressively (and tearfully) advocates for the rights of both factions.

The 55418 is lucky to have such a morally and philosophically flexible Representative.

How Many Chunks in a Gobble?

From a StarTribune report about a study on “who bears Minnesota’s biggest tax burden” and how that might inform State and local government budgets:

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman asked committee members to rethink the aid cuts.

The mayors said they'd need to look at reductions in every corner of their budgets, including public safety, which gobbles up a giant chunk of city revenue.

How does that qualify as reporting?

Did the Mayors use the language, “gobbles up a giant chunk”? It is not a direct quote, so we would assume the electeds used different words.

What we’re presented with is not fact or news, but a storyteller’s rhetoric. How many dollars are in a giant chunk? When a firefighter comes out to save a life, is he gobbling revenue?

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