Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Luck, Uptown Bar!

I still feel the most at home in Uptown. It was the area I missed the most when I went back east. It has always had a different feel from everywhere else here - the lake nearby, the variety of people, the trendy, fun atmosphere. I understand that the area is getting revamped, but a lot has been lost in the process. I'm glad some things are staying, especially my favorite bookstore, Magers & Quinn, but I'm sad to see some of the landmarks go. Soon to go is the Uptown Bar & Cafe. As stated on their site:

The Uptown is closing and in the process of finding a new location. The last day open for food is Saturday, October 31, 2009. The last day open for music is Sunday, November 1st, 2009.

Established in the 1930's as a beer and burger tavern, the Uptown Bar has changed its look a number of times to keep in step with the changing times and changes in the neighborhood.

Although times and neighborhoods change, we want our present patrons to enjoy our atmosphere, food and beverages just as our customers have for over 50 years.

Relax, be comfortable, and feel welcome. You are important to us.

Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

So, good luck to you, Uptown Bar. It isn't that you're the fanciest place to go have a drink, or that you offer the most elaborate and expensive food or that the clientele is the social elite. But that is exactly the point. Wedged in between many great places in Uptown, it really is in a league of its own - and should be a landmark. It has been there for all those years....

They can move it and the people will move with them. But it would be cooler if they just left it alone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama Signs the Important Hate Crimes Law

With all the talk on health care reform and all the arguments going on, it was nice to see a very important bill almost quietly signed. According to The Oval:

"After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are," Obama said in signing the defense budget bill that includes the new hate-crimes law.

The new law basically expands existing hate-crime protections to outlaw attacks based on sexual orientation or gender, in addition to race, color, religion or national origin.

In a later ceremony devoted to the new law, Obama told supporters, "No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love." He cited statistics that in these past 10 years, there have been more than 12,000 hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

"We will never know how many incidents were never reported at all," Obama said.

It is amazing to me that there were opponents to this bill. The original crimes that it were based on - both well-known, both deplorable acts - were more than just crimes. They were statements against these men just because of the way they lived. It is about time it has been singled out in the right way - everyone deserves respect, and everyone deserves to live their life. To have stronger laws for these types of crimes has been long overdue. It may not change the small, sick minds who commit these types of crimes, but it will at least hopefully make them stop and realize the tougher consequences.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health Care...and Related Bankruptcies

All right, Al! I like how he not only has the facts, but stands up for them. Way to go!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sexist Rush Limbaugh & Miss America?

I'm wondering who the genius was who decided to put Rush Limbaugh on the panel of judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant. Here we have a man who only judges women by their looks - in the ultimate contest of just that.

The women I mentioned this to responded with comments like: "They still do that silly thing," to "Who cares anyway, it is hardly an intellectual contest," to "Wow, how appropriate for a group of women who are the farthest from what most of us stand for anyway."

So, one has to wonder. Why do we still have these contests? Nowadays, the women look more and more like Barbie dolls, with the same type of plastic parts, and virtually nothing based on their brains. It's all about strutting around in bikinis and overdone evening gowns, with breast implants, and liposuctioned bodies. Little, if any, emphasis is put on developing the mind at all. In the case of Carrie Prejean, the mind just seems completely closed off.

But, if they are going to have the contests anyway, shouldn't some care be put into who is judging it? On Huffington Post today, Limbaugh's latest sexist comment was noted as he insulted CNN reporter Carol Costello:

Keith Olbermann gave Rush Limbaugh the silver medal in his "Worst Persons in the World" segment for insulting a CNN reporter, Carol Costello, who examined Limbaugh's show and monologues for a piece on talk radio. Costello consulted a psychiatrist to delve into what Limbaugh is really doing; the shrink concluded that Limbaugh is a bully. Limbaugh's reply was, "Carol you need to go sit on a fire hydrant and, you know, improve your day."

As Olbermann put it: "You do not need a psychiatrist to figure out that piece of emotional fantasy. Emotionally Rush Limbaugh is a 14-year-old boy."

No one says that the Miss America contest is one of scholars, but to put a man - who acts like a hormonal teenager - on as a judge who makes sexist comments with his morning coffee...well, even in this case, it is a little off the mark.

My guess is there is a few in the group of contestants who probably are smart and are using the contest to put themselves through school or better their lives, but I would bet they are in the minority. Still yet, maybe the remaining ones don't realize Limbaugh makes these types of comments regularly, or don't think it is any big deal.

But it actually is. Because even though it isn't a contest of intelligence, it is still a representation of women - even if it is an embarrassingly weak one. And to put a sexist pig like Limbaugh in there to drool over them while he insults them at the same time seems more than a little lame.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

They Seriously Voted Against This Amendment?

I've seen several comments about Al Franken's first amendment. One of them actually said it should have been voted against because "anything that happens inside a war zone cannot be controlled." Are you kidding me? This is rape we are talking about - and not just rape: gang rape. This happened to a 20 year-old woman who was not a soldier, but working there. But, even if she was a soldier, this is still disgusting. To make matters worse, then they locked her in a box and told her she could not prosecute.

I'm with Jon Stewart. This should have been one thing that was voted for unanimously. But, there were actually thirty Republican senators that voted against this! How would they feel if something like this happened to their mothers, or wives, or daughters, or sisters? How did they go home and look them in the eye? On Strong Progressive the names are listed along with the address and phone numbers to call to protest this:

Who are these thirty Republican paragons of virtue? I've finally got the list. Here are the nays:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
The old boys club that the Republicans are running, and all their sticking together has just plain gone too far. Gang rape that can't be prosecuted because it is Halliburton? It is beyond disgusting. Any woman - any decent human being - should be outraged!

To write or call to protest:

Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-3121

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fox...and Other Friends

There is a poll going around as to whether or not Fox News should be shut down. The first comment I have is: quit calling it Fox News. Call it "Fox Noise," "Fixed News," or any of the other names it's called. It is about as much news as the National Enquirer is a newspaper.

Most of the people I know are very intelligent, well-read people. Not everyone I know is liberal, some are conservative. We generally agree to disagree. And everyone agrees with free speech. But free speech that is full of hatred, and invokes violence - and is said over the airwaves - takes it a bit too far. In that case, they are responsible for what they incite.

The blond bimbos on Fox don't really do much of anything as far as news reporting goes. They check their facts about as much as Michele Bachmann does. Even my father, who is very much a conservative, says he never watches it because "they make things up." That is not news, that is sensationalism. Glenn Beck takes it to a whole other level.

News channels are always a bit biased, depending on what you are watching. But to show continued disrespect to our president and incite hatred among people who aren't that bright in the first place is about as smart as putting a cell phone in the hands of an already bad driver. It is dangerous.

Over and over again during the Bush administration we were told to "respect the office" even if we didn't respect the man. What happened to that advice? I'm not saying everyone should agree, but we can respectfully disagree. And to expect a new president to clean up eight years of mess in ten months is a bit ridiculous.

So for the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world...just shut up and quit with your hate-filled sexism, racism, and stupidity. It is pretty clear you will do yourselves in at some point with either a complete meltdown or getting caught with something that you criticize. Because even more than being racist and sexist, you have to be the biggest hypocrites I've seen to date. And that always comes back around to bite you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

For a Dear Old Friend...and Niece

I had many roommates in college, but only one ended up being my sister-in-law. A great person, she also had a great dog and followed that with great kids. Married to my then husband's older brother, her marriage has worked out, mine did not.

We lost touch after that, and many years went by. In a miserable marriage that was happy in the beginning (and I choose to remember the good years), and turned abusive in the end - it ended many years ago. Today I see it as the best thing that ever happened to me. I am now with the man I should have been with in the first place. In hindsight, back then we were too young, too different, and were two people that never should have been married that were married to each other. I still recall my brother saying before the wedding that "you are too young and he is a small town boy, and you are not a small town girl." Why we do things in our youth is hard to understand when we get older.

As a writer, you live things twice, and even the bad things can be good when you live through them and learn from them. That past seems like a different lifetime and I am a very different person now.

Through the whole process, contact was lost with my former sister-in-law, Cindy, and her daughter, Lindsey - who I adored and always considered to be my niece. I thought the world of both of them and thought of them often through the years.

When I went on to Facebook awhile back I located another former roommate and found out she had passed away from cancer. I was too late. I did end up talking with her mother and that was pretty special, but I'll never be able to talk to her again. I didn't want that to happen again. So, I dug around. And dug around some more. With a very common name, I just didn't know how I would find Cindy and Lindsey. I knew what state they were in and was hoping that remained the same.

I was blessed a few weeks ago to find them both. And I finally had a conversation with Cindy two days ago. Turns out she has been through some ordeals, just as I have. Turns out Lindsey has too, and is now a grown woman. I wish I had found them sooner - but am grateful I have found them now.

Life is short and it goes by too fast. People you think of, and who remain in your thoughts over the years, are there for a reason. I don't believe in coincidence and believe every encounter, every acquaintance, and every loved one in your life is not by chance. We often don't know why, but it's true. All the time I was concerned of digging up old wounds, but found they were long buried and even forgotten. And it really didn't even come up when we finally talked.

We talked about us, about wonderful memories, about current struggles. But mostly, we reconnected. I've had many blessings in my life, and many things to write about. But, reconnecting with someone as dear as Cindy and Lindsey are at the top of the list. And for that, I am not only grateful, but especially glad I am a writer. Because, yes, writers do live things twice - and some things you're blessed to live twice are just that much more sweet when they happen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lies Continue

Why does this woman keep lying and getting away with it? I used to think she was just plain stupid, now I think there is more than stupid going on - there is an agenda that is manipulative and downright immoral. Enough Michelle - check your facts and quit spreading lies. You're a disgrace to your so-called Christian community:

Friday, October 2, 2009

And He Wants to Be President

The only humorous part of the very unqualified Sarah Palin being introduced at the Republican Convention was that Tim Pawlenty was standing in the wings expecting to be in her place. Oh, the embarassment - and in his own town too.

I live in Minnesota. I never hear a nice thing said about Tim Pawlenty, never hear anyone say they like him. He has made jokes out of bus strikes, has continually cut social services - including his recent changes that eliminate personal care attendants to parapelegics and disabled senior citizens. He lacks charisma, lacks integrity, and lacks class.

Now he has joined the band wagon to be disrespectful to both our President and the regular, hardworking people of Minnesota. His comment about the Cash for Clunkers program once again shows his complete inability to relate to the people of Minnesota. As quoted in City Pages:
"Gov. Tim Pawlenty's latest money quote to ponder: "There's a joke out now that says the main value of the Cash for Clunkers program may be that we'll get a lot of cars with Obama stickers off the road."
He then goes on to compare President Obama's health care plan to a manure spreader in a wind storm. Way to go, Tim. Laugh at people that are poor, laugh at people that want change, and laugh and show disrespect to our president. Weren't you another one of the guys that kept saying that "we should respect the office" when people were getting disgusted with Bush? The sad thing is that you think you are funny. It is actually quite hurtful and uncaring to people who live in your own state.

You are also pretty clueless - Minnesota is a state with crazy weather, extremely cold temperatures, and bad roads. Most people here - even if they do have considerable money - don't want to spend it on a car that will get beat up. They will drive them until they are clunkers. Between our bad drivers, increasingly bad traffic, lack of decent public transportation, extreme weather, massive amounts of snow and salt to handle it or - best of all - the crater-size potholes we have to try and drive around...if our cars aren't clunkers, they will eventually become just that. You even refuse to fix the potholes because it might raise taxes a little - when the residents overwhelmingly want them to be fixed. (I, for one, would much prefer that to the $450 I had to fork out to fix my car after hitting an invisible one last year).

We know how you handled the bridge falling, and we know how you handled the bus strike - which also affected thousands. It is my hope that for your next bid for higher office you will, once again, be standing in the wings with egg on your face while someone else - who at least pretends to care - gets the nod.