If Everyone is Special...

A few years back, the TSA started implementing Precheck security lanes. These lanes were designed for frequent fliers with a long-term travel history and later expanded to include those who have underground background checks to enroll in the Global Entry program. And for a while it worked great.

Those of us who qualified for Pre-Check could expect much shorter security lines with experienced fellow travelers who knew what they were doing. And we didn't have to take our shoes off or our laptops or liquids out of our bags. By streamlining and improving a process that can be one of the more frustrating parts of flying, it significantly improved the overall travel experience for those who were part of it. After years of moving in the wrong direction, there was finally step in the right direction to make flying somewhat less of a hassle. Three cheers for Pre-Check!

Recently however, I began to notice that the lines for Pre-Check were getting longer and longer to the point where the "regular" security lanes had shorter lines. And more and more of those waiting in line with me didn't fit the profile or an experienced or trusted traveler. What had happened to something that was actually working well?

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Essence of the Constitution

In his column today, George Will lauds a short new book by Timothy Sandefur, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty. Will provides a short course in the original understanding of the Constitution and the Progressives’ effort to remake it in the name of “democracy.” Please check out his column.

The column presents a useful reminder of the difference between modern liberals and modern conservatives. They go to the roots. The differences are wide and deep.

Drawing on what Publius referred to as discoveries and improvements in “the new science of politics,” the Founders created a frame of government designed to limit the powers of the government by the system of checks and balances with which we are all familiar, at least by reputation. The powers of the government were limited in the interest of liberty.

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Disclosure, Part 4

In a series of posts earlier this year [12, and 3] I wrote harshly of the inner workings of and motivations behind the pro-same sex marriage political action committee MN United, founded by Democrat Party insider Richard Carlbom.  It turns out, based on more recent results, that I was not harsh enough.

Perusing the 1st Quarter 2014 filing made by the MN United PAC at the state Campaign Finance Board makes for surprisingly interesting reading.

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Corrupt crony capitalism

Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:

It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.

This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:

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The WIN Minnesota Money Machine

I forgive those readers whose eyes glaze over when the discussion turns to the legal subtleties distinguishing a 501(c)(3) from a 527 from a 501(c)(4).  It all sounds like tax accounting and what could be more deathly dull than that?
Unfortunately, the boredom factor is exceeded only by the importance of the subject.  Clever manipulation of these mind-numbing corporate entities is the reason why Democrats win elections in Minnesota and Republicans lose.

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Disclosure, Part 4

In a series of posts earlier this year [1, 2, and 3] I wrote harshly of the inner workings of and motivations behind the pro-same sex marriage political action committee MN United, founded by Democrat Party insider Richard Carlbom.  It turns out, based on more recent results, that I was not harsh enough.

Perusing the 1st Quarter 2014 filing made by the MN United PAC at the state Campaign Finance Board makes for surprisingly interesting reading.

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LPR issue coming to head at Legislature

A license plate reader (LPR) that many Minnesota law enforcement agencies have and the data it collects can know where you were five days, five weeks, five months, even 5 years ago.  The data the LPR collects and disseminates can be used to get an individuals daily routine down pat.  Just review the Star Tribune articles about former Mayor R.T. Rybak and reporter Eric Roper.

The emerging technology, which can read 1,800 license plates per minute from a device mounted on a dashboard, roof, or fixed on a bridge as is being done in past or now on the Minneapolis Broadway Bridge is a tech-tool for crime fighting.

Usage of LPR's raises issues of civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and accountability.  This debate has played out on the floors of the Minnesota Legislature in debate, but is coming to a Conference Committee soon.  Both legislative bodies, the House and the Senate, have passed their versions of the bill that's attempting to regulate the use of this vacuum cleaner of data.  Read more at Open Secrets blog. 

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The Shape of the Playing Field, Part 5

“[For Parts 1-4 Please go to Bill Glahn--ed]

Shut Up!” They Explained

Writer Mark Steyn has documented the slow decline of free speech (for conservatives, anyway) around the globe.  Unfortunately, Minnesota is busily manufacturing fresh examples to add to Steyn’s sad tally.

Nearly 200 U of M professors object to Condoleezza Rice's speech.  Yes, professors at Minnesota’s flagship public university—and temple of free inquiry—object to hosting a speech this week by George Bush’s Secretary of State.

One of my frequent Twitter sparring partners couldn’t be roused to criticize the would-be censors on campus: he preferred the safer ground of critiquing the “outrageous” word choices of those standing up for free speech. 

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Front Runner?

Scott Walker.

He’s conservative.

He’s got a killer track record.

He’s got killer approval ratings, and has them in a state perhaps even more purple than Minnesota, notwithstanding (or – ahem – because of) his tough, conservative stances on vital issues. 

He’s withstood four years of the most scabrous liberal and media (ptr) campaigns in the history of American politics (not directed at a woman or minority conservative, anyway), and come out stronger than ever

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Tax Day: What If You Didn’t Have to Pay?

aAs the father of a young family, I have taken a fanatical interest in my household finances. Curious whether I could squeeze more juice out of our budgetary lemon, I took a look at our monthly expenses as a percentage of our take-home income.

To my astonishment, I found that 84% of our take-home income goes to essential expenses. By “essential,” I mean items which cannot be cancelled or reduced. These are things like rent, fuel, insurance, and groceries. We already minimize these expenses as much as possible.

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