History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bill Ingebrigtsen and the sickening stadium deal

State Senator Ingebrigtsen
Entertainment trends can be notoriously hard to predict. I reflected on this recently with my posts about Glenn Miller. Miller produced a style of music that my generation, not long after his heyday, considered so ancient it seemed like cave drawings.
Football is a form of entertainment that has come to mesmerize us. We shouldn't assume this will be the norm forever.
We are notorious in America for building things up only to tear them down. The Woody Allen movie "Zelig" was instructive on that.
We should be reminded that our love affair with football isn't that old. It was just starting to burst forth when I was a kid. We all knew it had been around for a long time.
Baseball seemed like a gentle and inviting sport while football appealed to ruffians. There was a significant stretch in this country's history when baseball, horse racing and boxing commanded our attention. Only when the quality of the TV picture sharpened did football become more appealing by leaps and bounds.
We in Minnesota have committed ourselves to a new pro stadium as if we assume football will stay king. Had all of this been left to private business, fine and dandy. Why do our elected politicians have to be put in a chokehold, however? Why does Governor Mark Dayton have to put on a purple jersey, do a dance with an avowed Republican (similarly dressed) and be photographed for the front page of our state's primary newspaper?
Are we nuts? Does the hypnotic spell have to be bipartisan?
Do we need to have more pain inflicted on our state's citizenry by electronic pulltabs and bingo? What's up with my generation, the boomers, who when young showed such conscience? The new Vikings stadium will cost the state $348 million paid for with these new and expanded gambling measures. The City of Minneapolis will kick in $150 million paid for with existing sales and hospitality taxes.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is taking notice. Founded by David Koch, co-owner of Koch Industries, this organization supports small government and low taxes. It's a group I normally have reservations about. But while I'm left of center in many of my political views, I sometimes think conservatives and especially libertarians are right on.
AFP has a Minnesota affiliate. This Minnesota arm is targeting three state senate incumbents for supporting the new Vikings stadium. One of them is Bill Ingebrigtsen, who I want to refer to as "Bill I." because his last name is so tricky to type. He's our state senator here in Morris, although re-districting is apparently going to separate us.
It is amazing that a conservative group like AFP would come down on a Republican like Bill I.
Republicans are supposed to be the conservative ones.
Perhaps Bill I. doesn't have an adequate grasp of history. Perhaps he isn't aware that football hasn't ruled throughout the broad experience of time. Perhaps he doesn't realize how uncertain the patterns of entertainment are. We go from Glenn Miller to Jefferson Airplane in 20 short years. Boxing shrivels to being marginalized.
It's possible we'll look back with great embarrassment at the invasion of purple shirts at our state capitol.
Our governor was happy to talk to all the heavy hitters in this process. Roger Goodell seemed like royalty. Fact is, NFL Commissioner Goodell probably loses sleep over whether his sport can continue on its perch.
Such ruminations may completely explain why the NFL is so desperate to get new opulent stadiums built. They're scared. They're scared the TV watching experience has become so fantastic, far fewer people will consider buying tickets and coming to the games. They're scared of something very common in our economy: saturation (over-exposure) of a popular commodity.
Former quarterback Troy Aikman has talked about this. I can relate to Troy who said that as a kid, he and his friends considered any televised NFL game a "big deal." We are still entertained by pro football but the scarcity is gone - gone with the wind.
And I haven't even gotten to the biggest threat the game faces yet. It's the exploding public awareness of the health dangers of playing football. There is currently much speculation on how this awareness could cause a downward spiral for the sport. I don't think it's far-fetched at all.
Mike Barnicle of "Morning Joe" (MSNBC) talks about the "mom factor." Who wants to risk having their son's brains rattle around? At our local Big Cat Stadium, I notice a full-fledged ambulance crew parked right next to the field on Friday nights. Maybe a sport that requires a full-fledged ambulance crew is simply too dangerous to play. "Moms" will readily recognize this.
It is highly questionable for taxpayers to commit themselves to a sport like this. It seemed the taxpayers never really had an advocate in the new stadium process. When Goodell flies here, he knows who to talk to. It's not the regular citizens. He knows which powerful people will kiss his ring.
Americans for Prosperity Minnesota sees all this clearly. It cuts no slack for Republican Ingebrigtsen. Nor for another Republican, Julie Rosen of Fairmont. The third legislator singled out by AFP is a Democrat, Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka.
John Cooney is director of AFP's Minnesota branch. He says "We simply don't agree with publicly funded stadiums."
AFP has actually sent out flyers in the districts of the three legislators cited. Maybe we haven't gotten them here because we're being re-districted away from Bill I.
(The dictionary informs me that "fliers" and "flyers" are both acceptable spellings.)
The flyer from AFP states that "(name of senator) sided with corporate special interests, and his/her policies are costing taxpayers." It calls the stadium deal a "giveaway" to corporate special interests.
I sent an email to State Senator Ingebrigtsen but he didn't respond. Actually the main thrust of my email was about this extreme crackdown for seat belt enforcement in Minnesota. Reportedly the crackdown in Morris has been incredible, causing hardship and frustration for many people, including (reportedly) a meals on wheels volunteer.
Not only is it frustrating to get a ticket, it's frustrating to try to pay it. It's this latter concern that prompted me to write to Bill I., primarily.
I'm sure Bill I. answers communications from powerful special interests or lobbying concerns. I'm just a constituent.
We are getting shafted on overly vigilant seat belt enforcement just like we got shafted on the stadium.
I used to consider the Morris Police Department as an arm for protecting and assisting the public. Now it has become predatory, apparently under pressure to raise revenue for the state, a state that is so desperate for funding a Vikings stadium it pushes electronic pulltabs and bingo.
We should be reminded of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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