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As you know, last February, I broke my right arm, which led to me spending 3 months in rehabilitation and away from LFR. While my arm is functional, it still isn’t 100%. Still, I’m grateful that I’m returning to the level of productivity that I was known for prior to my ‘year from hell’.

Over the past month, LFR has led the way in holding the ISD 742 School Board accountable. Additionally, I’ve spent time laying out a positive reform agenda that includes reducing the scope of government, especially as it pertains to the Met Council.

For the rest of 2017, I’ll be working on holding DFL front groups like Black Lives Matter and #UniteCloud accountable for their protests. I’ll also spend time exposing the connection between the School Board and special interest organizations. Trust me when I say it’s one of the best-kept secrets in town. It’s my goal to turn those connections into the worst-kept secrets in town.

Meanwhile, I’ll do my best to hold the St. Cloud Times and other media outlets accountable. Finally, LFR will provide information that will help you, the news consumer, the best-informed readers going into next year’s midterm elections.

Thanks for your loyal readership the past 12+ years. If you want to contribute monetarily or forward stories to me, contact me by leaving a comment to this post. I’ll contact you via email.

It isn’t often that Drudge Report links to a sports article. Drudge linked to this article because there’s a long-simmering feud that’s threatening to boil over. It started when the Detroit Tigers’ Ian Kinsler finally had had enough with the umpiring. Specifically, Kinsler criticized umpire Angel Hernandez, saying “It has to do with changing the game. He’s changing the game. He needs to find another job, he really does.”

According to the Detroit Free Press article, the animosity towards Hernandez is widespread. The article said “One American League executive who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about umpires performances said about Kinsler’s comments, ‘He said what 90% of every other player thinks.'” Later in the article, it said “In a 2010 players survey conducted by ESPN, 22% of those polled counted Hernandez as baseball’s worst umpire.”

The umpires have a major problem on their hands. This weekend, Hernandez is part of the umpiring crew working the Minnesota Twins-Arizona Diamondbacks intra-league series. Earlier in the day, MLB announced that Kinsler would pay a fine but that he wouldn’t be suspended. Prior to the game, umpires said that they’d wear a white wristband in a supposed show of unity with Hernandez. When the game began, only 2 umpires of the 4-man umpiring crew working the Twins-Diamondbacks game wore the white wristband.

The problem Major League Baseball has isn’t just that Hernandez is a bad ump. It’s that too many umpires think that the game revolves around them. Too many umpires have tried upstaging the players after making bad calls. MLB implemented instant replay reviews because umpires made the wrong call too often. In my opinion, there’s a significant drop in the level of professionalism amongst umpires.

The late Steve Palermo, the gold standard for umpires, was disappointed with himself if he missed 5 balls-and-strikes call a month. Umpires like Hernandez frequently miss more than that per game. Let’s look at some epic Hernandez fails, starting with this one:

Then there’s this one:

This isn’t a bad call on a baseball play. This is Hernandez throwing a fan out because he’s thin-skinned:

At some point, MLB needs to address these umpires’ lack of professionalism. Angel Hernandez is a symptom, not the disease.

According to this St. Cloud Times article, a “Level 3 predatory offender will be returning to the St. Cloud community after serving his prison sentence, according to the St. Cloud Police Department. James Ross Forbes II, 30, of St. Cloud, engaged in sexual contact with a two-year-old girl he was babysitting, according to the St. Cloud Police Department. The contact included penetration. Forbes also had a history of sexual contact with a seven-year-old boy, according to police.”

What type of sick bastard engages in “sexual contact with a two-year-old girl”? What type of society essentially looks the other way when that type of predator gets a slap on the wrist? According to the article, “The St. Cloud Police Department is holding a community notification meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at the St. Cloud Police Department, Training Room C, 101-11th Avenue North. Representatives from the police department and the Minnesota Department of Corrections will be available to provide information on public safety.” It’s worse than that, though. The article says that “Forbes plans to move to the 100 block of East St. German Street on Aug. 21.” This is what Forbes looks like:

I did a little digging into Minnesota’s FAQ Page on sexual predators. Here’s one of the FAQs:

Q: What is a risk level?

Here’s Minnesota’s reply:

Risk levels are assigned by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) not the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
Risk Levels are assigned to registrants who are released from prison on or after January 1, 1997.
Risk level one indicates the least likelihood to re-offend. Risk level two indicates a moderate likelihood to re-offend. Risk level three indicates high likelihood to re-offend.
Information about Level 3 offenders is available on the DOC web site.

According to the article, Forbes “also had a history of sexual contact with a seven-year-old boy” prior to having “contact with a two-year-old girl he was babysitting.”

According to this fact sheet on sex offender treatment in prison, “Seventeen percent of Minnesota inmates are incarcerated for a governing sex offense, and an additional 14 percent have a prior felony conviction for a sex offense1. More than 90 percent will be released back into the community. Long-term, intensive residential sex offender treatment is used to reduce their risk of reoffending.”

Rather than having to waste time holding community notification meetings, I’ve got a simpler solution. Don’t let Level II or Level III sex offenders out of prison. Any predator that’s penetrated a 7-year-old buy and two-year-old girl” isn’t capable of being rehabilitated. Further, any government that won’t protect children from sexual predators has failed its primary responsibility of protecting its citizens. That government needs to be replaced by a government that puts its highest priority into protecting little children.

Finally, rewriting these sexual predator statutes is required. It should be written this fall and passed the first week of session next winter. No research is needed. Either politicians are serious or they’re part of the problem.

UPDATE: This morning, I wrote about the Level-3 sex offender that’s moving into an apartment on St. Cloud’s east side. Just a few minutes ago, I tried visiting the article to see what the comments were to the article. The article had disappeared. I suspect that it was pulled quite a while ago because there weren’t any comments. On a hot button topic like this, there’d normally be 25-50 comments.

The question now becomes about why the Times pulled the article from their website. Another question for the Times is why they ran the article on Saturday. Was it because they weren’t informed by the police? I suspect that isn’t why but that’s speculation. Surely, the SCPD knew long before this that this predator was likely to land in St. Cloud. Why weren’t St. Cloud residents notified before this morning?

Whatever the explanation, someone dropped the ball. That’s anything except acceptable.

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According to Ashley Fairbanks’ bio, Ms. Fairbanks is a progressive with an education from the University of Minnesota, where Ms. Fairbanks studied “American Indian studies and Political Science.” The reason I mention this is because Ms. Fairbanks wrote this article, which was heavy on the guilt trip and short on tolerance.

Early in Ms. Fairbanks’ article, she wrote “People learn the real history, the important stuff, from books. People learn from knowing people different than themselves. Lessons you must have missed.” According to her bio, Ms. Fairbanks “is an Anishinaabe woman and citizen of the White Earth Nation. She operates as a socially-conscious designer and public artist. She works with a cohort of artists that do racial justice popular education and organizing. She seeks to use her design skills to activate people around issues ranging from police brutality to environmental justice. She has worked with the Energy Action Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth to create campaigns around the KXL and Sandpiper pipelines and protecting our water from mining.”

Based on that information, it’s difficult picturing Ms. Fairbanks interacting with people different than herself. This information makes it even more difficult to believe that she interacts with anyone who isn’t a hardline progressive and environmental activist:

Ashley sits on the board of Voices for Racial Justice. She went to the University of Minnesota to study American Indian studies and Political Science, and has completed Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute, NACDI’s Native Organizing and Leadership Institute, The Humphrey School’s Roy Wilkins Community Policy Fellowship and is a 2016 Forecast Public Art Emerging Public Artist Grantee.

That’s the resume of a SJW. This paragraph encapsulates Ms. Fairbanks’ thinking:

We often forget that the history that we are teaching students shapes their entire worldview, not just their ideas on history. When we are taught white history, white science, white literature, and people of color and indigenous people get one week in our designated month, we are teaching white supremacy.

I’d love to hear Ms. Fairbanks’ definition of what white science is. I think I understand what white literature and white history are but science is science. I don’t doubt that white literature is different than the literature written from a black person’s perspective. I’m certain, however, that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west whether you’re black, brown, yellow or white. I’m equally certain that gravity works by the same principles for people of all races.

Understanding those things makes me think that Ms. Fairbanks’ opinions are either jaded or incorrect or both. I won’t automatically reject everything she’s said but I’ll maintain a healthy skepticism.

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Kim Crockett’s post about her recent trip to our nation’s capitol focused on the work that the Center for the American Experiment is doing to thwart the Met Council’s Thrive 20240 blueprint.

In her post, Ms. Crockett wrote that “DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s plan, like many ‘blue state’ governors, uses ‘transit oriented development’ or TOD, to pull money out of the suburbs and greater Minnesota to fund and re-enforce a city centric power model. That model shifts how and where people live, and how they get around, to change the political landscape in favor of left-wing control of local and state government. If ‘Thrive’ succeeds, we will effectively lose self-governance at the local, and even state, level in favor of unelected bureaucrats.”

First, the Met Council’s transportation blueprint is outdated. Next, it isn’t based on listening to the communities and residents it’s supposed to represent. Third, the Met Council’s transportation blueprint ignores the fact that the American people don’t want to get herded like cattle into a one-size-fits all transportation blueprint.

With more people being able to work from home and with more people buying their things from Amazon, E-Bay, Craigslist and other online outlets, the need for transit is waning, not waxing. While Al Gore hates urban sprawl, the American people apparently have voted with their mortgages in favor of spreading out.

Then there’s this:

These TOD plans rely on crony capitalism to thwart citizen opposition to these billion-dollar boondoggles. There are construction and engineering firms and armies of lawyers and consultants, lined up to take their cut of the $2 billion for SWLRT. And that is just the start: then comes Bottineau LRT and others. They press their case with help from the business chambers and K-Street lobbyist here and in D.C.

Here in St. Cloud, we’re fighting against extending the Northstar rail project from Big Lake to St. Cloud. While extending Northstar isn’t as high-profile of a project as building SWLRT is, it’s still built on the same central planning crony capitalist principles.

Another thing that SWLRT and Northstar have in common is that they’re massive wastes of the taxpayers’ money. After construction, they’ll still need massive operating subsidies. Think about that. Northstar isn’t making money. It never will. Extending it from Big Lake to St. Cloud just adds to the money the special interests will need to take from taxpayers. SWLRT is no different. Before explaining that statement, I’d suggest that you watch this video:

As you watch the video, count how many different pieces of infrastructure have to be built before SWLRT is operational. Then think of how many people will use SWLRT vs. how many will continue to use the highways and city streets. (You can make the same comparison with Northstar.) SWLRT and Northstar aren’t solutions to Minnesota’s transportation problems. They’re impediments to the solutions.

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Ryan Winkler has a reputation for saying controversial things. In June, 2013, Winkler took to Twitter to tweet about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act. That morning, Winkler tweeted “VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas.” Rather than quitting there, Winkler replied, saying “I did not understand ‘Uncle Tom’ as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it. I do apologize for it, however,” he said.

Winkler was then a rising star in the DFL. I think that label is pretty much gone after reading this article. Twin Cities blogger and conservative activist Chad the Elder got into an exchange with Winkler over Charlottesville. Winkler started by saying “Nazism only stood for one thing. Communism has meant different things in different place at different times, not just Stalin. Not the same.” Chad replied, saying “Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Ceausescu, Honecker, North Korea…Stop me when I reach what you consider good communism.”

Had Winkler stopped there, he might’ve limited the damage. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t stop there. Instead, Winkler asked this question:

Do you disagree that the Soviets were the lesser of two evils for us from 1940-45?

Anders Koskinen of Alpha News wrote “In a series of tweets stemming from recent actions by white supremacists’, Minnesota attorney general candidate and former State Rep. Ryan Winkler appeared to defend communism late Monday night. In light of white supremacists and Nazis being fired for their views, Twitter user ChadTheElder questioned whether the same standard would be applied to Communists, since that ideology is also responsible for horrific atrocities on the scale of Nazism.”

It’s apparent that Winkler is a loose cannon who hasn’t learned the first rule of holes. Instead of getting into a hole, then stopping digging, Winkler keeps digging. Here’s hoping he’s the DFL-endorsed candidate for State Attorney General.

I just received an email from Joe Davis, the executive director of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, thanking me for helping persuade Inge Thulin, the CEO of 3M, to resign from President Trump’s Manufacturing Council. Davis insists that this is a major victory. It isn’t. The average person couldn’t care less about these councils. They’re most interested in whether the economic future looks bright and whether their kids will have jobs when they get out of school. Nonetheless, Thulin tried spinning it in a statement. Thulin said “I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values…After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals.”

Why should I care if Thulin, or any other CEO for that matter, is offended? Truthfully, it’s painfully obvious that Mr. Thulin is playing a political game to avoid the wrath of liberal activists protesting his company’s products. It’s probably the right thing to do from a financial standpoint but it’s still caving to unprincipled activists. Here’s Thulin’s statement:

If Davis wants to think this is a big victory, that’s fine with me. It isn’t like ABM has had a great election victory in Minnesota recently. In 2014, Republicans got outspent decisively but still flipped the Minnesota House of Representatives. In 2016, Republicans widened their margin in the House and flipped the State Senate. Rumor has it that ABM is thinking about changing their logo to this:

The other logo under consideration is this:

Here’s my statement to Mr. Davis: Pop the cork on that champagne. Celebrate those moral victories. Savor them. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep telling yourself that it’s just a matter of time before people come to their senses.

In the meantime, Republicans will keep winning elections, not just moral victories.

Living on St. Cloud’s East Side my entire life, I’ve grown skeptical of city plans to redevelop St. Cloud’s East Side. When Mayor Kleis starts talking about redeveloping the East Side, I get extra skeptical. In this article, Mayor Kleis outdid himself. The article says that “The biggest redevelopment boon would be a Northstar line extension”, adding that that “would be the single greatest catalyst for East Side development.” The station where Northstar would stop at is less than a half-mile from my house. Anyone that thinks that that’s a catalyst to redeveloping St. Cloud is either lying or stupid.

When Kleis said that this “is doable, and the Legislature can do that,” my first reaction was to ask what type of drugs he was using. The East Side of St. Cloud will forever be a blue collar part of town. Within a quarter mile of that train stop are Red’s Electric, Val’s, Handyman’s, a couple junk yards, one of which was abandoned 5 years ago, an old brick building that looks like it’s been abandoned for 50 years and a day-old bread store. The frightening thought is that that’s the upscale part of the area.

To do anything retail- or office-related there would require tens of millions of dollars to just make a dent. Then the question becomes what would go into this real estate. Here’s the reply:

The plan recommended the city encourages artisan workshops and artist residences to move into the district by establishing incentives for redeveloping “make/live” space for artists and organizations.

Seriously? This is proof that this city desperately needs new leadership. To show how unserious this plan is, consider this information:

But East Side redevelopment captured only about one page of the document, which is upward of 160 pages. The plan’s catalyst sites were mostly near downtown on the west side of the river.

Then there’s this quote from Mayor Kleis:

The river flows through our city. It doesn’t divide the east and the west.

Actually, Dave, the Mississippi does divide the city. It has since I was born 61 years ago. This is the view looking east down East St. Germain Street:

In less than a mile, there are 2 major sets of railroad tracks as you look east. There are 2 other railroad crossings if you look north from St. Germain. As you pass Lincoln Ave. heading east, there’s a mix of a gas station, some homes and Highway 10.

If you think that I’m being a bit pessimistic, consider the fact that that’s before we talk about fixing the properties on Lincoln Ave. north of East St. Germain St. If you don’t fix that, you’ve just spent a ton of money without fixing the East Side’s problems.

What’s needed is to admit that the East Side is best suited for industrial redevelopment. Putting in cute apartments and retail shops might look nice for a couple of years but it won’t fix the underlying problem. Getting a fistful of federal grant money to put in a few cute amenities won’t change that fact.

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This article highlights how progressive activists expect corporations to be their newest poster children corporate morality police. It isn’t surprising that these leftists demand obedience to their code of conduct. It’s something they’ve had in their playbook for years, at least back to the Walker recall election.

That’s when AFSCME decided they wanted to destroy businesses that didn’t display their signs in their window. In my post, I quoted a WSJ article that said “Last month, Dawn Bobo, owner of Village Dollar Store in Union Grove, Wis., was asked to display a pro-union sign in her window. Ms. Bobo, a self- described conservative Republican, refused and received a letter from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees asking her to reconsider. ‘Failure to do so will leave us no choice but do [sic] a public boycott of your business,’ the letter said.”

It’s time that conservatives remember the left’s fascists when they enter a voting booth. Further, it’s perfectly fine to criticize the left’s major institutions. It’s painfully obvious that the hardline progressive left wants to be the morality police. Specifically, they want corporate America to be America’s morality police.

Question: Remember when conservatives were considered America’s morality police? I do, too. They were called prudes for sticking with the Bible’s teachings. The left’s morality police aren’t prudes. Instead, they’re mostly fascists. They’d rather shut down speech they disagree with. The Left’s morality police are bullies, too.

Another part of the Left’s morality police are useful idiots like Joe Scarborough:

In the most instance, the CEOs of Merck and UnderArmor stepped down from the White House manufacturing council following Trump’s initial response to the Charlottesville violence that was widely panned in the media as insufficiently tough on white nationalists. Both CEOs’ decisions to step down received applause from public figures, including in the media. “I’m going out to buy Under Armour,” declared MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

Scarborough is a media whore, willing to say anything to remain politically relevant. When Trump was riding high, Scarborough wanted Trump on their show every day. Now, Scarborough criticizes President Trump’s actions in virtually every segment of his show.

I’d ask if the real Joe Scarborough would stand up if I thought there was a real Joe Scarborough. It’s like the old joke about how to give a chameleon a nervous breakdown. A: Put him against a plaid background. Saying that Scarborough’s principles are situational is being a little too gentle.

After writing this post about a proposal to increase affordable housing in the Greater St. Cloud area, I got a call from a loyal reader of LFR. This person highlighted the fact that St. Cloud’s economy used to be built around manufacturers like Franklin and big corporations like Fingerhut. This reader then mentioned the fact that St. Cloud’s economy today is focused on the hospitality and retail industries.

In the past, St. Cloud has made terrible choices for its economy. The Chamber of Commerce shouldn’t get off lightly, either, since they’ve frequently advocated for tourism industry bonding projects. In the end, those things changed St. Cloud from being a blue collar manufacturing town into a tourism mecca. That’s foolish because there are thousands of different tourism meccas in Minnesota.

In Jenny Berg’s article, she wrote that “Hontos said he wants a joint resolution to show interest from other cities.” He might get that resolution passed by the St. Cloud City Council but it’ll die the minute it gets to the Sartell and Sauk Rapids city councils.

Since this affordable housing project started getting publicity, talk has started about voting on a moratorium that would postpone the building of bike trails and city parks until St. Cloud attracts 5 new manufacturing companies to St. Cloud.

The liberal policies that’ve caused St. Cloud’s neighborhoods to deteriorate have led to rising crime rates, too. Mind you, many of these crimes haven’t gotten recorded but they’ve still happened. They’ve been reported. They just haven’t been recorded. We’re left with a city whose economy is like icing on a cake but without a main meal. Economies built around retailers and restaurants are like meals consisting of cake and ice cream but no meat, potatoes or gravy.

Other citizens have told me that getting things approved for construction has gotten more difficult. The City has the right official policies. They just aren’t enforced. The reason I mention this is simple. Why would a major company move to St. Cloud when crime is rising, there’s a shortage of the type of laborers that companies will need and the local economy is built around the hospitality and retail industries?

Dave Kleis has been one of the biggest cheerleaders for these policies. He’s also the chief cheerleader for the airport. He could’ve killed 2 birds with 1 stone by proposing an industrial park built right by a new regional airport. That would have a chance of gaining traction and changing the trajectory of St. Cloud’s economy. That proposal hasn’t been rejected. It’s been ignored instead.

Frankly, it’s time for new leadership in St. Cloud. St. Cloud needs someone who a) isn’t a de facto cheerleader for the Chamber of Commerce, b) doesn’t believe in crony capitalism and c) has a vision to restore St. Cloud’s identity as a blue collar All American city. I’d clean out most of the members of the City Council. I’d pretty much fire the School Board. Finally, I’d fire the SCSU president, too. It’s clear he doesn’t have a plan to turn SCSU around.

Mayor Kleis talks about reviving St. Cloud’s core neighborhoods. Those don’t get built or maintained by restaurant owners.

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The headline speaks for itself. North Korean leader Kim Jung Un displayed something approaching rational behavior. The opening paragraph of Fox News’ article said “Kim Jong Un appeared to blink first, with North Korean media reporting Tuesday the dictator had delayed a decision about whether to fire missiles toward Guam – a pronouncement that came hours after a particularly stark warning from Defense Secretary James Mattis promised further escalation would mean ‘game on.'”

More than a month ago, Gen. Mattis was asked what kept him up at night. His response was essentially that he keeps others awake at night. Now we see why. Gen. Mattis brings to the equation something that wasn’t there during the Obama administration: a credible threat of the use of military force.

Last week, Gen. Mattis said “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” Apparently, Kim Jung Un took that not-so-veiled-threat seriously. That’s one of Un’s first rational thoughts in ages.

Last week, Marie Harf got into it with Lisa Booth, asking “If this rhetoric leads to North Korea attacking Guam, are you ok with that?”

Booth replied “No offense, Marie, but I am so sick and tired of the criticism of the “sound and fury” comment. We have Secretary Mattis, who was confirmed by 98-1 in the Senate, who is a brilliant military scholar, who is a student of history, who is known for being deeply thoughtful, who essentially said the same thing yesterday…”

This morning, we found out that Kim Jung Un backed down, thereby eliminating all of Ms. Harf’s what ifs. During the Obama administration, they didn’t attempt to back Kim Jung Un down with a credible threat of the use of military force. The Obama’s policy of strategic patience was deployed. The Chinese and the Un administration didn’t have an incentive to blink.

As for the question that the media wing of the Democratic Party didn’t ask, Susan Rice answered it recently, saying that the US could live with a nuclear North Korea. The truth is that the Obama administration was filled with Carteresque pacifists. This time, Americans should be happy that Gen. Mattis was asked to clean up the Obama administration’s mess.