Where’s My ObamaNet? FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler wants to expand a program that dates back to at least the Bush Administration, which became known as the ‘Obama Phone’. Originally the program was intended to make sure older people with no communication could get phone lines, then it was expanded to include cell phones, and was made famous during the 2012 election cycle. Now the FCC wants to expand the program to include free broadband Internet! Surprise! We all pay extra on our phone bills to fund this program, now we’re paying so people who don’t work, can get free or low-cost Internet. When is it time to draw the line? Warning! This podcast includes a freewheeling discussion of technology it all its many forms, economic growth, dystopia, Paul Krugman, Solar Power, Wind Power, the smell of cigarettes and Martinis on a warm summer night, the sound of planes landing, and more! Big argument in the tech world after The New York Times Astrologer in Chief, Paul Krugman claimed the technology revolution has produced no economic growth. Is that true? Then there is the bizarre reaction to Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Machines, Robotics and Additive Manufacturing (to name a few new technologies) threatening to eliminate jobs. Most of the time, it’s disbelief, followed by the darkest predictions about the future. And yet, technology revolutions throughout history while tumultuous, result in economic growth and more jobs. Why does the future have to be so bleak? What if the future is so bright, you’ll have to wear shades? Now, you might have to wear shades because you live next door to a giant solar farm — subsidized by the state and federal governments — while solar produces less than one percent of our power and pollutes the Earth. Why is it, news coverage of the spread of ‘friendly’ solar power doesn’t include stories about the pollution in creating, and eventually disposing of panels, and batteries? Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
Minnesota, Land of Confusion. What is the nature of what has been described as Minnesota’s ‘quirky’ political tendencies? Doubling as a Minnesota News Update, and commentary on the political state of affairs in the state, this podcast delves into the top political stories in the current time frame, and the conservative ‘movement’ in the state. As the House, with a Republicans majority vote to increase the education budget, the Senate with a Democrat majority votes to increase the gas tax by 16 cents. A tax which will come on top of the state’s 28 cent a gallon gas tax, federal taxes and local taxes. What’s the money going to used for? Roads and Bridges … Oh wait! Transportation. This, in addition to some three hundred million dollars a year which comes from the state’s recent Transportation Amendment, and existing bonding and budgeting for, well, roads and bridges. Senator Scott Dibble makes the ridiculous statement that ‘young people are leaving … for better transit options’. Richard Florida’s unproven assertions aside, studies show young people are moving to smaller, and larger cities like Austin, and Dallas, Denver, Des Moines and Omaha for career opportunities and cheaper housing. And what about the ‘lack of investment’ in the last thirty years? Projects on 94, 35W, 62, 100, the 610 interchange, the interchanges on 100 in the west metro this summer, innumerable ’roundabouts’ built all over the state, not to mention trains, trains, trains! And new buses. And a police force for the Met Council, and salaries for the Met Council. It seems as though, in this state Infrastructure, Education and Trains have taken their place next to entitlements as ‘third rail’ issues. Everyone wants more money, but they don’t want to have to pay for it. Solution? Tax the rich, tax corporations. And how many people in rural Minnesota really think they’re going to get their farm road repaved, or a new bridge down on the corner when the mayors of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and rich Doctors in Rochester have their hands out for ‘infrastructure’ and transit projects of their own? And yet another Minnesotan has been killed by the ‘safe and clean’ Green Line … this one an employee of the Minnesota Senate. Meanwhile, reports are the Met Council actually plans for about 5 deaths like Lynne Thomas’ every year. Target laid off another 100 employees downtown, with more to come. Educators lied through their teeth about how STEM education was needed because STEM jobs were going unfilled in Minnesota. Most jobs in the state are for unskilled labor. Despite all this, it appears the conservative ‘movement’ in the state is failing. The republican leadership is moderate. Polls show the state’s population leans to the left. Why? Minnesota is an island of old-time-democrat-union-monopoly, in a sea of forward thinking, business oriented policy and politics in all the surrounding states. What’s wrong with us? Year after year the same arguments about Sunday liquor sales, stadiums and light rail, and yet the money is taxed, the outraged brooked, and the cycle starts over again. Is this how Minnesotans ARE? What can be done about it. SHOULD anything be done about it? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. Image from the tenth amendment group.