Friday, July 1, 2011

MN State Shutdown: A Modest Proposal

Due to ideological, bullheaded, and dogmatic posturing and a near moronic aversion to any logical compromise, our Democrat governer and Republican legislative leaders shut down the State of Minnesota at midnight last night. The difference between the two parties in the last election was around 3%, which would not seem to give either group of knuckleheads the kind of overwhelming mandate needed to cripple the state. The informal yet highly accurate and respected GitcheeGumeeGuy polling service has found that approximately 4% of zealots on either side, lefties who worship Michael Moore's stained baseball cap and the righties who fervently believe that Michelle Bachman is on a mission from God, have both sides absolutely whipped and terrified of what will happen to their electoral futures if any creative thoughts or ideas of compromise are proposed.

There are too many things that are screwed up by this dereliction of duty by the jerks in St Paul to enumerate them all here. I will just touch briefly on the ridiculous list of what the state considers essential services. For example a person can't buy a fishing license or register their boat but the DNR will be out enforcing the fishing and boating regulations. All the state parks shut down however, and everyone that had camping reservations for the 4th of July weekend headed home yesterday or won't be leaving for vacation today. No Gooseberry, Split Rock, or Tettegouche on the North Shore of Superior. Canterbury Downs, the thoroughbred horse racing track where I've crafted many an exacta wheel, will be shut down as well, not because its a state agency but because the State Racing Commision which regulates it will be shut down. To use one of my grandfathers expressions, the Racing Commision's contribution to Canterbury's operation is 'as useful as teats on a boar hog', yet it will close the track and lay off several hundred people. Businesses in Forest Lake on both sides of the bridge over I-35 are hurting and will be until the bridge is replaced. Work on the bridge is stopped. I will pass by that non bridge later this afternoon when I ride up to Little Sand Bay with my buddy TripleHopped for a kayak trip. The other thing that we will notice on our run north is that the state has closed all the rest stops on state highways for the duration of the shutdown. These closed rest areas present the perfect opportunity for a statment about what we think of the shutdown, a modest proposal if you will.

My plan, a plan I executed flawlessly during the last shutdown in The State Where Nothing is Allowed, is to pull over at these closed rest stops (plenty of space for a safe stop), put on the flashers, and urinate in the ditch, one hand in an upraised fist and the other taking care of aim and possible drippage issues. Passing motorists will honk in support and we can imagine we are urinating on either Gov. Dayton's tax the rich proposal or the Republican's No New Taxes scheme, depending on your political leanings. If I was a marketing person at Midwest Mountaineering, Hoigaards, or the three local REI stores, I would hold a State Shutdown GoGirl special so that women could join this act of civil disobedience in a modest and decorous fashion. The only better protest might be to urinate on any state politician caught in public this 4th of July weekend, doing anything but sitting at the bargaining table and working on the budget.

We need to bring the heat on these stubborn politicos folks. The VOR served in North Dakota government for 30 years. To the best of our knowledge this has never happened in North Dakota. Why? I think it may because the legislature meets every other year for about 4 months. This means the legislators have to hold down actual jobs, jobs which they need to return to and jobs which put them into daily contact with their constituents. In Minnesota we seem to be drowning in lawyers, both in the population at large and also in the legislature. As you can see from the links, North Dakota is dead last in both categories and Minnesota is near the top. No shutdowns, a budget surplus, and minimal lawyers in North Dakota; a coincidence? I think not. North Dakota citizen legislators realize the hardships, frustrations, and ripple effects on the economy when the 'I'm gonna take my ball and home' 4th grade mentality is the chief negotiating tool. So now we wait while the state is on hold and the juveniles are squabbling in the big domed building in St Paul. I hope there is a good ending but I really don't have a good ending for this post, only an expression of frustration, disgust, and disdain for the prima donnas at the capitol.

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