Monday, June 06, 2011

Melty Monday Musings

Minnesota, where "Spring? What Spring?" Happens. Let's muse.

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Regular readers know I hold the Minneapolis Inspections department in low regard. There is a reason for this.

Last week, a tree trimmer from Hastings, Mike Haege, answered R.T. Rybak's call to volunteer in the aftermath of the North Minneapolis tornado. He went around, helping chop up trees for trapped residents.

Not so fast, said some city inspector lackey, who insisted he be licensed in the city of Minneapolis before being allowed to chop up any trees in the city (Mr. Haege is licensed in Hastings). Never mind that Haege wasn't charging for his services and was registered with a volunteer organization, or that our police officers presumably had a million better things to do than drive away a good samaritan.

They literally did just that, and the inspections department leveled a $275 fine to boot.

I put a call into the city, and spoke with Henry Reimer, who explained that, after last year's tornado, numerous contractors came along to bilk the elderly out of their money. I asked if Mr. Haege was charging anything. No, so what was the point?

Reimer explained that Mr. Haege was advertising his services. I asked if he was passing out fliers or business cards, and Reimer said no, but that Haege's company name was all over his truck and his equipment.

At that point, I'm pretty sure even Reimer didn't even believe his own bullshit, so he recalibrated. It was a safety issue, Reimer explained. We can't just have volunteers running around "willy-nilly" (his word) after a disaster. Then, and this is the city's official line in the press, it was explained that he was in the wrong zone. See, he was only allowed to chop up trees in certain zones.

So will he drop the fine? Nope. Mr. Haege will have the opportunity to drive back up to the cities to appeal the decision in the City Inspections' Kangaroo Court.

No, seriously, the city is NOT dropping the fine.

Oh, and if that whole zoning thing sounds like a fabrication, that's because it is. When bureaucrats feel comfortable lying to the press and to citizens, it's time for reform.

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Of course, the inspections department and police can be forgiven for piddling with licensing issues. I mean, it's not like this is happening. You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie.

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A bit off-topic, but this quote from Ben Post in the Strib is, well...

"People were super ramped up to help, and frankly there wasn't much to do," he said. "The hard part is, I'm sure people were asking volunteers for help in those areas. But if we just released 600 people into the neighborhood, it would have been a nightmare."
I. Have. No. Words.

Dear Urban Homeworks, never let Ben Post talk to anyone, much less the press, again. Ever. Seriously.

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From the French:

" the punishment incurred – 74 years in jail – also seems inconceivable in our country. 'It is very difficult for us to understand, but we have to avoid judging the Americans, their sense of justice is linked to their culture', the Honorary First President of the Paris Appellate Court Jean-Claude Magendie warns.’"

This is intended condescendingly. For those who aren't aware, the prevailing attitude among the French people is that it is an absolute travesty that an esteemed Socialist should be held against his will for the petty "crime" of having a bit of fun with a peasant.

This is the country that provided safe haven for a pedophile, the justice of which, I sense, is strongly linked to their culture, or lack thereof.

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After eight years of myopically driving the New York Times into financial irrelevance, Bill Keller is out as Editor in Chief. This tidbit, from his interview with Media Matters, a left-wing media "fact-checking" outlet:

People say, 'Well Fox claims to be fair and balanced, but they're not. You claim to be fair and balanced, you must not be either.' And so all news organizations, including the ones that try very hard to play fair and to be even-handed in their reporting and writing get tarred by the Fox brush."
Really? People say that? I have never heard anyone say that. What people say is that Fox News is an inherently conservative outlet. Some people say that this is in response to the demonstrated bias of the New York Times. Others (whose political beliefs accord with those of the demonstrated bias of the NYT) do not.

That's okay. According to the new editor, the New York Times is worthy of religious idolatry, so it's long track record of being hopelessly out of touch is sure to come to an end.

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In more positive news, I can safely report that Evergreen Chinese is as good as ever. They have more prominently labelled the "self-serve" fridge as such, the existence of which should put this at the top of the list of great restaurants to dine with kids. Snuck some seaweed knots and spicy cucumber salad as a run-up to the always excellent lemongrass mock beef.

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