Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648

Have you been to downtown Minneapolis lately? These days some don’t feel safe there. In Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648 we run the gauntlet on Hennepin Avenue.

After Billions Spent, New Questions About Safety Downtown

The media is starting to ask questions about crime in downtown. Opinion makers and the city’s leaders are apparently concerned. The questions they don’t ask are revealing.

Another New Crisis

The Crisis in American Cities has been grabbing headlines for a hundred years. From The Gateway District to Mayo Square it’s the same formula. Use taxpayer dollars to Demolish. Rebuild. Repeat. Has it been worth it?

Robert Moses and Richard Daley Would Be Proud

Light rail and mixed use condos. Expensive restaurants and Hipster art districts. Bike paths. Safe spaces. Higher Minimum Wages. Political fights about redevelopment and economic inequality. Tax Increment Financing to bring in big retail and big companies.

When these efforts produce mixed results, the process starts all over again. More money. Newer stadiums. More buildings. More condos that are sold as ‘affordable’ but cost at least two hundred thousand dollars. Higher rents. Traffic Jams. Crime.

Downtown Minneapolis was never a ‘thing’

The neighborhoods and retail business were located in North Minneapolis and North East, Uptown, Lake Street in South Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s ‘Midway’. Sure, Hennepin Avenue always featured bars and hotels, places to eat and entertainment. But downtown was for warehouses, light industry, office buildings, city and county government. And drunks.

Not DisneyLand

Let’s just say it. Downtown Minneapolis isn’t Disneyland. It never was. That’s the reason punks loved in in the early 80’s. The gritty nature of Moby’s and other Block E attractions made it ‘charming’. It’s one of the reasons First Avenue was able to gain a foothold as a seminal and nationally famous music and punk culture venue.

These days, the well connected, with impeccable credentials in the Twin Cities’ public-private partnership world, continue to sell ‘more of the same’; Taxes, regulation, and fees that make seeing a show or going to a baseball, football, or basketball game and having dinner after, impossibly expensive for most of the disappearing middle class.

Investment For What?

Want to start a business downtown? Want to buy a condo downtown? Better be juiced into the money or have a lot of money. No wonder people are concerned about the nitty gritty nature of Hennepin Avenue. Walking down this street you’re mixing with the great unwashed. Unruly, scantily clad, vulgar, of different races and often from the poor side of the cities. And it’s really, really fun.

What Does The 21st Century Look Like?

We need to start asking questions about the nature of the city in the mid twenty first century. Retail is dying. Corporations don’t need tons of office space anymore. No one wants to pay more and more tax. No one wants to have to pay 22 dollars for a hamburger to fund the sports cathedrals for billionaire team owners that live around Lake of Isles or out in Minnetonka.

Is the solution really more cops downtown. Another Light Rail line? Subsidized office space? Another redevelopment of Nicollet Mall? More incremental taxes added to the bills at the Smack Shack? Who lives down here? Not the servers. Nor the kids hanging out at the LRT station.

Spend Daddy’s Money Downtown

Downtown Minneapolis is a place for trust fund babies, lawyers and corporates relocating. People who are used to having things their way. No wonder they think it’s unsafe. Sadly, they’re making everyone else pay for their own personal Epcot Center. It’s a con.

Present Becomes Past?

No matter how much they spend when you walk this street, you’re walking where the bums in the Gateway used to spend the winter drinking. The past echoes up and down Hennepin, even if the buildings are long torn down. That’s never going to change.

We Pay For Power In The Shadows

When you think about how much of the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars they’ve spent, one wonders when the Downtown Council and the real shadow power in Minneapolis will be held accountable.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul

Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648

Death Of The Political Junkie Rest in Peace-Podcast 645

Are you a political junkie? Wake up in the middle of the night to check headlines? Scan social media in the bathroom? Watch the 24 hour cable news channels? Listen to talk radio on the weekend? Inbox full of political emails? We’ll talk about it in Death Of The Political Junkie Rest in Peace-Podcast 645.

Relevance

TV Stars and channels just want to keep their brands and their personalities foremost in your mind. Same with politicians. This is what people in the media call ‘Being Relevant’.

Inside Baseball

The problem is, the twenty four hour political chatter is less relevant every day. Those addicted to what we call politics these days are driving a conversation about tweets, traded insults, and stunts by people who seem more and more unhinged as each minute passes. In Death Of The Political Junkie Rest in Peace-Podcast 645.

Lies Conceal Truth

Politics and those who cover it are talking about each other more than they actually report on the news. The result? The actual political community continues to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants.

Mika Joe and Donald

Even though we have all kinds of ‘news’ coverage, it seems like the function of our government is a mystery to most people. Relating new things to the audience becomes more and more difficult in a sea of nonsense. Television presenters who poke at public figures getting a taste of their own medicine is news? Featured in Death Of The Political Junkie Rest in Peace-Podcast 645.

Meanwhile We’re Bankrupt

Puerto Rico is bankrupt. Illinois, California and New York are next. Debt is at record levels. Both political parties promise more and more. Someone, somewhere, someday will have to pay for it.

People vote for personalities. When their ‘guy’ takes office, it is expected he or she will do what ‘the voters’ want. That is not what happens. Why? Political Junkies these days know it all. They can tell you why Trump is a sociopath or why Loretta Lynch should be in federal prison but they can’t tell you what a republican stands for or what a democrat is. Maybe it’s time to watch less and do more.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars.

Death Of The Political Junkie Rest in Peace-Podcast 645


 

Playing The Something Is Going To Happen Game-Podcast 644

You can already feel it. The long fourth of July weekend approaching. We’re starting to slow down. So, for the ride to the lake. During periods of rain. It’s fun to think about what might happen. In Playing The Something Is Going To Happen Game-Podcast 644.

Podcasts Have To Go Deeper

I podcast a lot about media’s role in our society. For a deeper look at angst listen to Podcast 643. We’re awash in media informing us of the latest developments. ‘Breaking News’ is the norm these days. Podcasters have to go deeper. We’ll do that in Playing The Something Is Going To Happen Game-Podcast 644.

The Next Black Swan Event Is…

Truth is, I do feel a growing sense that ‘something is going to happen’. A true ‘Black Swan’ event is something unpredictable. An event that changes the course of history. Black Swan events like the stock market crash of 1929 or the September 11th Terror Attacks were not predicted, although some might have had some forewarning. Some predicted the financial crisis of 2008, but on the whole, it was a surprise.

A Personal Story Of A Shocking and Unexpected Event

A recent example of an unpredictable event in my own life illustrates the kinds of changes we go through when things change, unexpectedly and unpredictably. Moreover in my experience a sense expectation can mean something good is about to happen too. Especially important and relevant is an expectation of a major event that changes history. This kind of expectation is a sense of foreboding.

Not The Latest Dispatch From Washington

In a broader sense our social angst is driven by constant coverage of breaking news and new opinions on every little thing that happens in a place called Washington DC. Playing the ‘Something Is Going To Happen’ game is not anticipating news out of Washington.

Making History

A true Black Swan event is something out of the so called left field. An event in the financial world. Something breaking loose from the sense of normalcy in the rest of the world. An unexpected and totally new development from the world of invention. An event that changes history.

We Don’t Change on A Dime…Or Do We?

We think of eras as decades. The 1950’s, the 1960’s, and so on. We think of changes taking place when governments transfer power. So, the Obama era gives way to the Trump era. Except that is not the way it works, Steve Jobs said what we think of as the 1960’s actually happened in the 1970’s. Events actually determine when we move from one era to the next.

To sum up, a new president took office in January. After a lot of chatter and fireworks, nothing substantial has really happened. The test of the new president hasn’t really emerged yet. Fertile ground for our imaginations to break free from the daily news feeds and imagine what could happen. Enjoy the July 4th holiday! (Editor’s Note: In This Podcast I refer to Nouriel Roubini as the person who coined the term ‘black swan’. It was in fact  Nassim Nicholas Taleb.)

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Playing The Something Is Going To Happen Game-Podcast 644

 

 

Fear Anxiety Hope In A Time Of Fast Change-Podcast 643

In Fear Anxiety Hope In A Time Of Fast Change-Podcast 643 a look at coping with angst. Social media and instant coverage drives more worry and concern. How do we cope?

Fast Change

It’s hard to believe how much the world has changed in just ten years. Five years ago social media was in its infancy. Twitter is just 11 years old this year. The iPhone is only ten years old. Smart devices are getting smarter. Especially relevant is the truth that change is going to go faster. Drones. Cyber Terror. Driverless Cars. Autonomous Machines. Some of the effects will be good. Some will not be good.

Fear Anxiety Dread Anguish

Seems like we used to talk about robots disrupting traditional businesses. Now it’s happening. So, when Amazon buys Whole Foods, there is a reaction. Does this mean people will lose their jobs? Does cheaper food mean deflation? When there is a new development we’re immediately told what the effects will be before anyone has had a chance to soak it in. In In Fear Anxiety Hope In A Time Of Fast Change-Podcast 643.

Gonna Take More Than Just Love

What is the antidote to fear and loathing? Truth is, it would be easy to say love is the answer. What is love without knowledge? Remember how we learned to swim or ride a bike? There was fear at first, until we figured out step by step what we had to do to float, or balance. From knowledge and experience comes judgement.

Building A New World

New technology forms the cornerstones of the world we’re building, whether we want to build or not. Social media, constant coverage, blathering back and forth, isn’t going to stop. We need to learn more and fear less in order to make the right choices. Perspective comes from the combination of knowledge and life experience. The more we know about things we don’t understand the less we fear them. We’ll talk about it in In Fear Anxiety Hope In A Time Of Fast Change-Podcast 643.

Taking Charge

Human connections and real experiences are also important. Turning off the shouting back and forth. Taking a break from politics. Giving to and accepting help from those that come from different perspectives helps build a base of experience and knowledge. Reading a book about something not relevant to the day to day. Travel.

Try a Head Stand!

Finally, it helps to have some kind of physical practice. Whatever it is we like to do. Hiking, hunting, yoga, martial arts, camping, running. It all helps to get away from the natural inclination to check your twitter feed or post another selfie on Instagram.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

In Fear Anxiety Hope In A Time Of Fast Change-Podcast 643

Warning! Media BS Reaching Dangerous Levels-Podcast 641

Back in the studio after a long trip. When you drive over long distances there’s lots to think about. Of course, just because I am on the road doesn’t mean I disconnect from day to day news. Fact is, I would much rather talk about travel and adventure. Sharing some stories from the road and looking at some of the latest news in Warning! Media BS Reaching Dangerous Levels-Podcast 641.

Gasoline on The Fire

That’s right. Warning! Danger Will Robinson! We’re going to talk about the latest news in this podcast. Especially relevant, the stuff people share on social media. Charlatans and paid agents blowing on the already hot conflagration that is supposedly our body politic in this country.

Join Us For The Congressional Baseball Game

Last month I didn’t even know there was a congressional baseball game. Nor did I care. In the wake of a tragic shooting we’re still being treated to commentary and articles that simply rehash the same things written and said about every shooting. Next, they’ll be televising the congressional baseball game like it’s the All Star game. Time to call them all out in Warning! Media BS Reaching Dangerous Levels-Podcast 641.

Feeling Sorry For Day To Day Commentators Who Have To Fill The Airwaves With Nonsense

These days I get the feeling most of what we see and hear that passes for ‘news’ isn’t memorable at all. More commentary written by people who don’t know anything, telling you what to think and what to do. Once these articles are shared all they do is fan the flames of discord, serving none of us and no purpose.

Civil War? Really?

Not content analyzing the latest mass shooting event, commentators are now telling Americans to be prepared for an inevitable civil war. I just came from touring Missouri and Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. These are all states where small towns proudly display highway markers denoting deaths and destruction dating back to the Civil War from 1860 to 1865. Seems like every southern town has memorial parks and places of remembrance, well maintained and marked. Considering the bloodletting of the civil war years, it is irresponsible to compare these times to those dark days.

Who’s Fault Is it?

We’re responsible for this, because we’re the ones that keep reading, liking and sharing this crap. The right thinks anything not written and posted by their favorite sites is fake news, and the left thinks anything from the right’s favorite sites is fake news. While people actually know very little about the issues, they’re up on all the latest agitprop from their favorite mouthpiece.

Maybe There Is A Planet Out There To Collide With Earth

Considering all this, sometimes I wonder whether some event will intervene and somehow bring us all back down to earth. Or not. A pandemic, perhaps a visit from aliens. The United States is in trouble, and we’d better wake up from this slumber pretty soon or it will turn into a nightmare of biblical proportions. (Editor’s Note: I refer to the Governor of New York being killed in the 1930’s in an Attempt on FDR’s life. It was Anton Cermak the Mayor of Chicago.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Warning! Media BS Reaching Dangerous Levels-Podcast 641

Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638

Short road trips are great. Going away for the weekend is fun. My preference is for much longer trips. Storm Chasing in Missouri. Visiting the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. Don’t forget Arkansas. Meeting up with my son on his own road trip in Kansas. Visiting old friends in Tennessee. Now in Virginia checking in with family in Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638.

Happiness Is A Clean Windshield and A Full Tank Of Gas

There is a sense of peace that only comes from seeing the highway through the windshield. If you happen to be in the mid south, try a couple of the highways I mention in Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638. Backroads are always better and some of them are spectacular through Tennessee and Arkansas.

Seeing The Real America

The media is full of locators. This happened in California. That happened in Florida. Atlanta. Chicago. LA. New York City. York PA. The news gives us a sense of the United States as either exclusively urban or hopelessly rural. Travel on the highways and backroads reminds us how vast and actually empty our country is.

Family Stories

One of the missions of this road trip is to visit the hometown of my grandparents and great grandparents, great uncles and aunts and cousins. Most of my life I’ve been hearing apocalyptic stories of coal mining in southern Ohio. I don’t know about your family get togethers but mine are punctuated by confirmations of some of those stories, and guffaws. “Grandpa made that up!” is a common refrain. Time to at least go back to the old village and at least get a sense of the ground. In Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638.

Where Did That Happen?

Doing a long road trip? You’re mind will wander. Thoughts will come in and go out just as quickly. Months later you’ll be doing something and a thought and experience will come to mind. You will think, “Where was I when I thought that?”. We don’t always have the time to do this, we don’t travel like this enough, and it is good for the soul to do it. In Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Family Stories In Virginia-Where To Next-Podcast 638

 

Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625

We hear a lot of words used to describe various political factions in the US. Most will say the US economic system is capitalist but is this just an illusion? Are we socialist? Have we been socialist for a long time? It seems to me, we have. In Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Socialism Is Everywhere

Just because a country’s economic system is socialist, does not mean it’s a tyranny. Denmark and Canada aren’t dictatorships. Singapore is a Socialist Market Economy. Places where ‘the people’ own or control the means of production. Most socialist countries these days enjoy democratic political systems.

Government and Non Profits Dominate State Economies

Americans think of themselves as capitalists. The thing is, the top three employers in my state are public institutions. Americans depend on social security, medicare, or medicaid ‘entitlements’. Home buyers get tax subsidies. We enjoy many tax deferred investment options. Farmers get subsidies. Public workers get pensions. All kinds of grants for education exist. Then there are the business subsidies and government contracts. Some popular business personalities receive billions in subsidies from the government. We’ll talk about it in Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Both Parties Support Socialism

Democrats complain about light rail projects running through their backyards, but support government programs because ‘It’s the right thing to do’. Republicans complain about big government unless it’s the military, support for their businesses, home mortgage tax credit, social security and 401K programs.

The Right Thing To Do

It’s true that many of these programs date back to the depression in the 1930’s. Also true that creation of these programs came with the best intentions. Whether we like it or not, government is deeply involved in our lives. Of course, what the government giveth, the government takeaway. We’ll talk about it in Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Classic Liberalism Is Forgotten

Republicans and Democrats argue the same side of the coin. Both are collectivists. Neither adhere to Classic Liberalism, a philosophy of limited government with the sole purpose of securing a maximum amount of individual liberty, property rights and free markets. While no political scientist would argue the US is Socialist maybe we should consider the possibility we are and have been for some time.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars

Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625