Early Friday morning, you may see Jane Perry hanging out on a street corner. She has been distributing VFW “Buddy” Poppies as a Member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary for over 40 years. “It means a lot to me,” she said. “Buddy Poppies raise money to help veterans, their families, and our community. The VFW has been a rewarding place to volunteer.” On Friday, May 17, she’ll be out at 8 a.m., poppies in hand.
With six brothers having served in the U.S. military, Jane joined the Ladies Auxiliary under her twin brother’s wartime service. It’s been a membership that’s taken Jane across the state as a VFW Department Distinguished Guest Chair and to National Conventions across the country, starting in 1976. “I’ve missed a few, but not many,” Jane said with a smile. Favorite host city? “it’s a toss up between New Orleans and San Francisco.”
The poppies are assembled in by disabled veterans in Veterans Administration hospitals across the country. The poppies Jane is distributing today were assembled at the VA Hospital in St. Cloud, MN. The veterans that put them together are the only people paid. It gives them a few dollars to buy a few luxuries that many simply take for granted. Everyone else involved in the distribution, like Jane, is a volunteer.
Friday will find Jane outside of a grocery store in St. Louis Park with a basket full of poppies. A flier in the basket tells the Buddy Poppy story and has the words to Col. John McCrae’s timeless poem “In Flanders Fields.” Distributing poppies began in 1922 as a way to create awareness and raise funds for charitable programs, primarily focusing on disabled veterans and widows and orphans of those who fought and died. One of the places the money Jane’s Post (the Hopkins VFW) supports is the VFW National Home For Children in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. With a smile, Jane hands out poppies to all who pass and want one. The poppies are not for sale, they’re distributed as a way to keep the awareness of veterans in the public’s eye. Donations are accepted, and most people do donate. Many talk about their family members who have served and in some cases, still are serving.
When Jane’s shift is over, she’ll pass the basket and head back to the Post and swap stories with other volunteers. Everyone has a story to tell, like Dick Dvorak, a South Pacific WWII Vet and his wife Pat, or Dave Klocek who served in Viet Nam and his wife Mary Ann. The story they all want everyone to know is when people see the volunteers out today and tomorrow with baskets of poppies, remember the veteran who has returned and especially remember the veterans that didn’t.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hads we throw
The torch; be yours to hld it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though the poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Col John McCrae
Ypres, Belgium – 1915
(this story originally published in the Twin Cities Daily Planet)
Minneapolis Veterans Home construction project is in serious jeopardy for the second year in a row. The Minneapolis Veterans Home was founded in 1887 and is the oldest of the State’s five Veterans Homes.
Last year in August a state of the art 100-room skilled nursing facility opened and replaced a condemned Depression-era building. That was Phase 1 of a 2009 Master Plan. Phase 2 called for the demolition and rebuilding of Building 17′s north wing. This was funded in 2010 but the Phase 2 is contingent upon funding Phase 3, the demolition and rebuilding of that building’s South Wing.
On April 23rd, Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci reiterated support for the project, stating, “Governor Dayton has committed to funding the next phase of the Minneapolis Veterans Home in his last two bonding proposals.”
Although the House bonding bill does not contain funding for the Home, on the same day House Speaker Paul Thissen said, “The Minneapolis Veterans Home project will be part of the discussion this session as we work to pass a bonding bill that can be signed into law.”
A request for comment to the DFL Senate Caucus was not returned. The 2010 DFL Ongoing Platform (amended 2012) states the party supports “Providing timely and sufficient funding to appropriate government agencies to honor all our obligations to active duty military and military veterans.” A request for comment on the DFL’s position on funding for Phase 3 of the Master Plan for the Minneapolis Veterans Home possibly being delayed for the 2nd session in a row was not returned.
Reached for comment on May 6, Lee Ulferts, chair of a group of veterans organizations called The Commander’s Task Force, said, “The unfortunate thing is if we go ahead with Phase 2 without the assurance that Phase 3 will be completed the whole design of Phase 2 will have to be revisited, as it will mean dead ending electrical, sewer, gas and water. The cost to do this is not insignificant. To the Task Force, it just seems incomprehensible that proper funding for this home is not provided. And now it seems that we can dig into tax dollars to restore the State Capitol for $100 million plus but we still can’t find the money to provide beds for 100 veterans. When did our priorities get so screwed up?”
(cross posted from TwinCitiesDailyPlanet.net)
FULL DISCLOSURE: Tommy Johnson is a veteran and advocates for veterans’ rights.
Just the other day, Ahmed Tharwat asked me to be on his cable TV show to discuss the disclosure statement on the bottom of my emails – which is below. without any further ado, here it is!
(direct link to YouTube, here)
And, here’s that disclosure statement, that got the conversation started…..
Please feel free to use it yourself!
I’ll update when the Cable TV schedule is announced.
I wrote a Community Voices story over at Twin Cities Daily Planet – “Governor’s Office, Legislature at odds over funding for Veterans Home” – because I’m a recipient of a Media Skills Fellowship and I’ll be covering veterans issues. From it:
Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began.
Bottom line? There’s a 3 phase plan; phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 has been funded, but cannot commence until Phase 3 has been funded. So this project to fix a major problem is on hold, because for some reason, the leadership hasn’t figured out what Governor Dayton’s office has: not only is it the right thing to do, it’s political suicide to do the wrong thing and NOT fund it. Right now, in the veteran community, Dayton is a hero. House and Senate leadership? Not so much, to put it mildly….
Here’s a quote from a GOPer on this very subject:
“We started renovation of the Minneapolis home back in 2009,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). “Are we really doing what we should be doing for our men and women who have served our country? I really feel that the perception out there that we’re not. We’re putting money into museums, state trails, sculpture gardens, nature centers and so forth. I think our men and women that have served our country over the years really deserve better. … I think we should be looking at finishing that project in Minneapolis and then going forward with some of these other concepts.”
Does anyone really think that if the DFL-led House and Senate pass a bonding bill without funding a project that’s already started that Democrats across the state won’t be seeing lit pieces based on that above quote hitting mail boxes in their districts?
This is an unforced error. And that’s becoming a pattern; just last week The Big E wrote about this one: “First raise the minimum wage”.
Any bets the GOP 2014 Lit Piece on not funding the veterans home will include that one, too?
The House and the Senate need to step up their games, and fast. Funding the veterans home, which includes a large chunk of federal money, is a good start.
(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com)
Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began. From an October 14, 2010 Strib story:
Outside, earth movers were starting work on a new nursing home that in two years will replace a Depression-era building condemned after steel supports began rusting away.
Last Friday a group of veterans representing nine major veterans groups called The Commanders Task Force held a press conference at the State Capitol concerning this. From their press release:
“The state veterans community is alarmed that funding for the project is in limbo at this time in both the House and Senate.”
The plan called for three phases. The first, referenced in that Strib story, was fully funded and completed. Phase II, the demolition of the north half of a building that veterans groups contend is far short of minimal standards for a quality nursing home, is funded. But, Phase II is on hold, because Phase III is the demolition of the south half of the same building. Quite simply, Phase II can’t move forward as planned if Phase III isn’t funded and scheduled.
Last Saturday, at the Minnesota 7th District VFW (“Veterans of Foreign Wars”) Convention, the Legislative Committee gave their report: DFL Leadership in neither the House nor the Senate seem to consider finishing this project a priority; in fact, House Leadership announced appointment of the Speaker’s Select Committee On Veterans Housing minutes before the Commanders Task Force’s press conference on Friday. This Committee, appointed by Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (DFL-61B) , was charged with “examin(ing) housing issues facing Minnesota veterans, including veterans with long-term care needs and homeless veterans. The committee will issue a report with their recommendations by February 1, 2014.”
To put it quite mildly, the Legislative Update report was not warmly received by the veterans in attendance. For many, far from it.
The House and the Senate’s priorities differ with Governor Dayton’s as Governor Dayton has called for fully funding Phase III. This puts the Governor’s Office squarely at odds with the Legislature on an issue that American Legion Commander Don Pankake called the number one legislative priority for the nine veterans organizations holding last Friday’s press conference. Governor Dayton’s proposed Capital Bonding bill includes funding for Phase 3 for the Minneapolis veterans Home. “Governor Dayton has committed to funding the next phase of the Minneapolis Veterans Home in his last two bonding proposals,” said Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci in an email statement today. “For the benefit of our veterans, who have given so much, the Governor will continue advocating for that position throughout this legislative session.”
The State House of Representatives bonding proposal does not. A request for comment to the DFL House Caucus regarding Speaker Thissen’s thoughts about including Phase III funding this session was not returned at time of publication. With the Legislature Constitutionally required to finish its work by Monday, May 20th, Veterans groups will be watching closely to see if Legislators follow Governor Dayton’s lead by including funding for a project underway.
(cross posted from Twin Cities Daily Planet)
When we last left off in this continuing Cooked Books series, The Party Of Fiscal Irresponsibility had just turned down an offer to pay for a forensic audit of their books.
The “Offer” and “Offer Withdrawn” of an audit that wouldn’t cost the Book Cookers a penny came after – AFTER – Minnesota Campaign Finance Board’s blistering “Findings and Order in the Matter of the Complaint of Common Cause Minnesota regarding the Republican Party of Minnesota and others”, dated 13 July 2012.
From those findings:
To summarize, in 2010 the RPM had a finance director, who was recently promoted from telemarketing and who testified that he knew next to nothing about Campaign Finance Board reports and professed that it was not his job to review the reports in preparation for the treasurer’s signing them. The RPM had a chair who was busy with fundraising and his own business and believed that the finance director and the party unit’s compliance company were responsible for preparation of the reports. The RPM had a compliance company that disavows any responsibility for campaign finance reports other than to put data into a system and print out the reports. And finally, the RPM had a treasurer who placed all of his reliance on these three individuals. Given that situation, it is no surprise that the RPM reports were inaccurate.
Yep! No surprise!!!
(photo courtesy of Jack Tomczak, via Twitter) Last Friday night (08 Feb 2013), yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, was invited by Jack Tomczak & Ben Kruse to be on Late Debate to discuss guns with Andrew Rothman, who is with Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance. So I tossed on a shirt that’s guaranteed to raise the hackles and feed the paranoia of RightWingNutJobs everywhere (about that Tee Shirt, here), and headed to the studio!
I’d like to start this out by saying Jack & Ben are gracious hosts; they’ll ask the lefty that goes on the show some tough questions, but they’re always fair (well, to me and those lefty’s that I’ve heard ‘em interview). So I’ll give ‘em a shout-out; they’re doing everyone a service by putting opposing views on air, on their show. Plus, Jack and Ben can be really funny! If you have to listen to RightWingRadio, theirs is a show to listen to.
And I’d also like to say that as a person, I like Andrew Rothman – he’s a very articulate person that believes passionately in what he does. Some of which I happen to agree with; some of what I vehemently disagree with. But hey – this is America; disagreement is our tradition going way back to the days of The Founding Fathers. The point here is Andrew is someone reasonable people can (and should) like even while disagreeing with his positions.
Prior to that night’s radio gig, I’d never met Andrew. But, I’d heard him! On January 19th, GunNuts “rallied” at the Capitol in St. Paul; pictures and my comments in a Facebook Album titled “Guns Across America, St. Paul’s Circus Act”. Here’s what I said, back then, in a tweet: “Opening speaker at #GunNuts Rally: “No new #Gun Laws in #MN; gun laws don’t work” Yep – “right” out of the gate, and then repeated by speaker after speaker (including Tony Cornish, R=NRA) were “no new laws – PERIOD.”
So that’s the backdrop; yours truly, the ol’ TwoPutter, was headed to the studio — link to podcast and partial transcript follows!
You can link to the podcast here and listen along; the following transcript has to deal with finding common ground – that the idea anyone can go to a gun store, or under a tent at a gun show, and buy a machine gun is a really, Really, REALLY bad idea. Or, so I thought; starting at 7:05 into the show:
TPT: “We should actually start off, you know, and see if we can find any common ground. Now, you know, back in the 1930′s we had Al Capne and the bootleggers, yada yada yada. And in their infinite wisdom, (cross talk) let me finish, don’t start talking over me already; I know your style! We outlawed Tommy Guns. My question is: are you ok with that? Should sub-machine guns be illegal?
TPT: Alright, now we have it, folks! Now we’re getting ready to go!
Rothman: Let’s go back a little further. First we had Prohibition and it turns out that if we just prohibit something there won’t be any of it. We know this about the war on alcohol; we know this about the war on drugs. But we ended up with this huge bureaucracy of the, the uh, the Revenuers. And these folks did their very very best to win the war on alcohol. Failed miserably and creaed a huge market for crime in the process. When Prohibition was repealed, there was this whole federal bureaucracy with nothing to do. 1934 – the Gun Control Act (sic). So they had to do something about all those machine guns and all that crime which was caused by: Prohibition.
TPT: I just want to make sure all the listeners are very clear that Andrew, you just said that there should not be a prohibition on fully automatic AK-47′s, M-16′s, Thompson sub-machine guns, Uzi’s, yada yada yada. Is that really your position?
Andrew: That’s my position.
Ladies and Gents, you simply cannot make that up.
While reasonable people are trying to find reasonable solutions to curb gun violence, including banning Loop-Hole Legal Machine Guns, a leader of those opposing any – ANY – new gun law is very clear: fully automatic weapons should be readily available.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
* * *
I did the transcription, as best I could. Any error is inadvertent and will be corrected upon review; please suggest any such correction in the comments.
* * *
(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there
I saw the tweet, way late last night while snowplowing:
What??!? Let’s look at that again:
“January gun death toll: 40 in Gun free Chicago. 0 in gun-toting Tampa. #stribpol”
No gun deaths in Tampa, for a whole month??!?
Having lived in Tampa, I just knew that couldn’t be true. Especially coming from The Gas Bag Of The Midway.
So I get home, and do a quick google search — Tampa murder — with the click on news. Sure enough, there it is – – first page, on google:
Tampa police dispatcher victim of apparent murder-suicide
By JOSÉ PATIÑO GIRONA | Tribune staff
Published: January 24, 2013
The sheriff’s office said Mendoza was confronted by her armed, estranged husband outside his mother’s home, 8361 Galewood Circle in Tampa.
A neighbor heard gunshots at about 9 a.m. and ran to the driveway to find Mendoza slumped over in the front seat and her husband, Pedro Mendoza, slumped over in the back seat of her Hyundai Sonata, said Cristal Bermudez Nuñez, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Why look any futher? First page of a google search, and Berg is already talking out of his… well, you get the idea.
So, I send this tweet the following tweet, and go to bed:
Retweeted it, around 11:00am this morning and Berg starts tap dancing! Basically whining “move along, folks – nothing to see here!” Let’s look:
Can’t make this up, folks!
And that’s the problem with people like Berg, shill for GunNuts everywhere: reasonable people have no reason to believe ‘em. Point out that they’re wrong, and they just ignore it and pretend nothing is wrong with what they’ve said.
It’s simply impossible to shame people that simply have no shame.
And it’s just another example of:
You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.
(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)
Look closely, to the picture to the right: “legal to own and use.”
What that stock does, is change a semi-automatic weapon into what I refer to as a “loop-hole legal machine gun.”
Now, I’m not going to get into a circular argument about definitions; about what a “machine gun” & “sub-machine gun” & “automatic weapon” are and are not and other odd, assorted semantics (“it’s not called teh clip; it iz teh magazine!!”).
What I am going to point out is that sometimes, as most rational people know, technology DOES change – and technology has changed what an assault rifle is and what it now is legally capable of.
Watch the following three YouTubes – yes, it’s going to take more than just a few minutes – and then, in the comments, tell me what you think of what you just saw.
I’ve thought about this for quite a while, and here’s what I believe: any semi-automatic weapon that can be legally modified with a slide-style stock needs to be banned.
Excuse me: EVERY semi-automatic weapon that can be legally modified with a slide-style stock needs to be banned.
I know the Thompson submachine gun was banned decades ago; I believe it’s time to ban these loop-hole legal machine guns too.
This YouTube shows how to “bump fire” an AR15 without a slide stock:
This YouTube shows bump firing at the next level, with a slide stock:
This YouTube shows how easy it is, to put together the loop-hole legal machine gun:
Semantics? Could care less about ‘em. These are loop-hole legal machine guns.
Your thoughts? Comment here.
* * * Update * * *
Found this YouTube over on DailyKos….
and it’s only been viewed only 4,376,099 times….
“So you see with this thing you get some crazy rate of fire…”
This, Gentle Readers, is what the GunNuts want to keep legal.
It’s only a matter of time until AR15′s et al modified this way show up at a mall, hopefully not near you and you not in it….
….because, and make no mistake – the GunNuts think EVERYBODY has a right to have one (or more) of these, with no safety training required.
…”Money Down The Rathole!”
OK, deeply in debt, The Party Of Cooked Books sent out a tweet: “The MN DFL Chairman bragged that “never before has our party been more powerful.” Fight back! bit.ly/W3GQac #mngop #mnleg #stribpol”. That link in that tweet? Takes folks to the MnGOP’s website (screenshot is to the right), where they’re asking folks for some dough. Except, some folks are not really happy with the MnGOP!
Here’s my favorite comment (so far), by “Larry” —
“Until the conservatives grow some balls, I will not give any more money to put down the rathole!”
Say, Larry? It’s not the lack o’ ‘nads that’s the real problem with today’s MnGOP that makes donating to it a “rathole” – it’s their Cooked Books that makes it a rathole; it’s things like this!
And, that’s just one of many the MnGOP cut to the Feds to pay for their past misdeeds.
That’s just the past; there’s mighty good reason to think that future donations from The Party Faithful will go to paying for past misdeeds yet again!
Today’s MnGOP is indeed a rathole, and it’s for the old-fashioned reason: they EARNED it.
(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)