Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Immigration

There is one thing that I have found to be an obnoxious omission in the recent immigration debate, the plight of the legal immigrant. I am constantly in awe of the brand quality that is "America". Yes, we may be hated all over the world but according to the rest of the world, America is still the land of opportunity. People come from near and far through legal channels to set down their roots in what they perceive to be more fertile ground for prosperity. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and was exposed to a broad swath of immigrants. There were Europeans who came here because they were fed up with the economic malaise that dominates across the pond. Asians, Arabs, and Africans who often were part of the professional class in their home countries but were reduced to driving cabs or mopping floors (work is work but going from running a surgery to driving a taxi has to be a tough pill to swallow) in their adopted countries but considered the sacrifice worthwhile as their children would be able to become part of the educated class in a country were political strife was not the norm. Regardless, of their backgrounds, the common denominator was that these immigrants all shared the pain in the ass that the US immigration process is. The well to do hire lawyers to navigate this diahreal mass of laws and regulations. Those less financially able simply persist. However, due to the complexities of the law and a generally unresponsive bureaucracy, formally INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) now CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services, the process is time and financially intensive and the customer service is piss-poor. One would think that when a skilled worker is willing to incur huge personal sacrifices to become an American, we would simply open the door and welcome them, but through bureaucratic bungling we kick them in the teeth instead. Yet they still come. This is remarkable but not indefinite. At some point other countries will catch up and market themselves as viable alternatives for skilled workers. The U.S. has to streamline its immigration process for those who come here through legal channels and should expand legal immigration. Otherwise we will lose the attendant benefits of immigration, the infusion of human capitol and the enrichment of our society through different cultural influences, from which our country has gained so much.

Monday, April 24, 2006

News & Views: The Long Slog Edition

Well, folks, final exams are coming up and I'm hoping to keep my head above water just long enough to expound on the Constitution for the next two weeks. Despite those responsibilities, it behooves me to offer a weekly look at what's in the news. (Although, perhaps my Strib links ought to be discredited.)
  • The safest Democratic seat in the nation, Minnesota's own 5th Congressional District, held a debate between all the neophytes, nobodies, and nincompoops vying to replace the venerable Martin 'Olav' Sabo. MPR's political blog, Polinaut, has the audio.
  • PiPress is reporting that University Avenue is today's equivalent of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. Used car dealers and strip mall owners wanna cash-in on increasing property values, while gentrifying urban yippies salivate at the prospects of a light-rail stop just blocks from the Turf Club and Big V's (not to mention TREND Bar). City Hall Scoop takes a look at some of the criterion St. Paul is requiring for new development.
  • It's Stadium Mania XV! With Dr. No (aka House Taxes Committee Chair Phil Krinkie, R-Lino Lake) presiding over the end-around on a Hennepin County referendum (see who gave the yeas and nays here), it's looking like Gopher football may find an on-campus home. Will the Vikings get the trifecta? And isn't amazing how quickly Republicans turn their votes around in an anti-incumbent election year?
  • I was at the DFL shoot-out going on for the Ramsey County Attorney endorsement, where up-and-comer Cory Tennison attempted to dethrone 3-time incumbent Susan Gaertner. Both camps remained entrenched after five ballots, with Tennison leading in each one. Unfortunately, Tennison decided to fold, surrendering the election to a woman who is by definition a DINO (Democrat in name only).
  • In yesterday's PiPress, the front page article focused on the Grups, "hip" middle-aged folks who obsess about staying young and "cool." I don't think I know any current Grups, but I do know a future one, and his name is Mandingo. He'll be carting his kids to Pantera concerts while they're still in diapers.
  • Is Minnesota's Democratic senator Mark Dayton one of the worst? Only if we all agree Norm Coleman is one of the slimiest.
  • Get a job, Junior!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Star Tribune to Employees: Don't Steal Your Own Newspaper , You Little Bitches!


It's been a Cat. 5 shitstorm around these here ambisexual parts, what with the Macalester Up In Smoke tour temporarily put on hold, we've hardly had time to exhale. So, while this juicy tidbit may not come as a surprise to anyone other than Moe Williams, we'd like to direct you to the little dustup over at the Star Tribune (err...Pravda) over removing free copies of the paper in an effort to cut costs. Not only is the Strib the joke of Minnesota, it's the joke of an entire, disgraced nation. The Grey Lady reports. [NYT]
Poynter, some journalism outfit, has a similar take. [Poynter.org]
And while we're on topic the moonbats over at the Anti-Strib have all the playa hating you could ask for. An entire website devoted to clowning on the Star Tribune...this is why, people, we shouldn't allow conceal and carry. [anti-strib]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

CHEEBAdanza cancelled! Pot-smokers momentarily outraged!

The Strib is reporting* the powers-that-be at the liberal establishment known as Macalester College are stomping all over free speech, freedom of assembly, and like, a lot of other stuff...CHEEBAdanza, as reported on these pages, has been cancelled! Apparently, the adminstration thought the student org leading the effort for the "re-legalization" of marijuana were actually just looking for an excuse to smoke some reefer. Who knew?

I really think this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, folks. The student union will be stormed, the power will be given to the people, we shall rise...ah, hell, who are they kidding.

*Best part of the article: Members of CHEEBA were unavailable for comment...hmmmm.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm sure our invitation is in the mail

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is hosting a syposium entitled, "Bloggership: How Blogs are Transforming Legal Scholarship." Full disclosure: I actually had to turn down Harvard when they asked me to be the keynote speaker. I told them I refused to participate in anything with the word "bloggership" attached to it, as well as anything that tried to lend academic credence to the "blogosphere." Eat it, Crimson.

Cannabis:Macalester :: Peas:Pods

Oh, Macalester College. Nothing like reinventing the wheel of '60s revolution over and over again until it becomes a mockery of a mockery of ridiculousness.

As the PiPress is reporting (in some awfully contrive pot-speak), Mac's own student org CHEEBA (Creating a Harmless Evironment to Enjoy Buds Appropriately) is hosting CHEEBAdanza on (what else?) April 20 (4/20...get it?). Oh, and just so that you do get it, the festivities begin at 4:20 p.m. Their agenda? The re-legalization of marijuana, what else?

What's best is that this gem of an event comes just hours before Mac's most famous alumnus, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, visits for the school's Springfest celebration. Will Kofi do a little tokie? (Ok, now I'm laying it on a bit too thick.) Mac's other most famous alumnus, the PeP's own Ilya, will certainly be partaking in the celebration.

I have to give Mac kudos for having some very industrious potheads, but really, Mac, where's the originality? I mean, maybe if CHEEBAdanza were being held at Bethel, then this would be a story. But Mac? Soooo typical.

And as a sidenote, has anyone ever considered the fact that maybe marijuana would already be "re-legalized" if its advocates didn't throw celebrations called CHEEBAdanza?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MegaMN


In light of the Mall of America's proposed $1 billion expansion, which would nearly double its size, I have to ask: why stop there? Let's just build a mall over the entire state. That way, we can all stay indoors in the winter, and keep our consumer economy booming! Eh, guys? Eh?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Catching Up With: The Human Chocolate Orchid

The World is a much better and safer place with Fancy Ray McCloney, People's Champion/Freedom Fighter/Cable Access denizen/Pitchman/Internet Forum spawner.
He's at once a populist champion around the Twin Cities and something of a local pariah. Either way, the man has enriched this great state beyond compare.
If I could spend the night in bed with this maniac, my world, and worldview would be utterly shattered and complete at the same time. Imagine for a second...the guy does everything from unicycle, to collect Jane Mansfield memorabilia, to run for governor, to stand-up, to big butts of transgendered she/he's. My life seems quotidian in comparison and the man is nothing short of inspirational. Fancy says he's named after his grandpappy, Fancy Wade, but also goes by the monikers, "The Human Chocolate Orchid" and "The Best Lookin' Man in Comedy".
Dudes, Fancy Ray is the fun-loving shit! He's out in California right now puruing the American dream. We miss you, Ray.

Here are some collected gems from his myspace message postings. Butter often seems to be an erotic accent of choice and he always responds to the ladies.
  • To Sharon: " Hey PrettyGirl, How am I?
    I feel like a piece of Butter on a Pancake!
    My, My, My~
    With Sweet and Sticky Hugs."
  • To Ms. Cleo: "Ms. Cleo, When do I get 2 Butter your Tarot Cards?
    I LUB Very Much!"
  • To Janet: "You sent me a friends request, and I saw your picture with the Red Stripe (resting atop Janet's ass). Friends? Shheet...
    If you can fit a WHOLE 6 pack up there -
    I'll MARRY YOU!!!
    my, my, my~"
  • To Jane (a bentover, obese pornstar type woman. His messages to her are somewhat salacious but innocent nonetheless): " How do you like your popcorn-
    Plain or Buttered?"; (and) "Sweet Jade, You may think I'm "scary
    I may cause you fright,
    but trust me when I say -
    I can make you Smile ALL Night"

Friday, April 14, 2006

News & Views

  • Will they rename Ford Parkway now that St. Paul's Ford Ranger plant is biting the dust? Don't know. But that's the least of our concerns, as Minnesota's capitol city will lose almost 2,000 jobs. Jobs that happen to be in manufacturing. Paging Lou Dobbs... (Sidenote: Anyone want to wager on the redevelopment plans? Keep in mind, you may not want to drink the water.)
  • Minneapolis City Council finally showed some good sense and actually approved green space downtown, taking the generosity of gazillionaire Bill McGuire and turning the land next to the new Guthrie into a city park. While this effort pales next to the egalitarian wonders of St. Paul's two (and perhaps soon-to-be three downtown parks) it's welcome relief.
  • ESCAPED SEX OFFENDER! Cindy Brucato at Channel 5 couldn't be more excited (especially now that the Uptown murder isn't "breaking" news).
  • MPR wants to know: "Will gay marriage ban harm Minnesota's 'creative class'?" Short answer: Indecipherable. Long answer: Why the hell are we still talking about the "creative class" as if its a real thing?
  • In a (mostly) unrelated story, the Republicans of the 6th Congressional District are in a pissing contest to determine who hates gays and taxes the most, as well as who loves God, guns, and babies the most. It's a toss-up, folks.

Free the PeP!

Yes, people, this is PiedPiper with his notes from underground. My voice is a little hoarse from not having breathed in a while, so please excuse me. I have been to the brink and back, my PePpers, and I return to these pages with the wisdom of the ages, the insight of the sages.

In case you haven't noticed, the Pie-Eyed Picayune has been in a temporary vegetative state for some time now. I can blame it on this and that - you know, school, life - but none of it really does this blog justice. The PeP's illness climaxed recently in an unadvised, bloodthirsty attempt to pull the plug, to remove the feeding tube, to refuse sustenance to this most sacred of Internet texts. Thankfully, my PeP brethren wrestled me away from the cliff's edge. And after a tongue-lashing from Mandingo, and weepy intervention from Xtra, and some time in the blogosphere's significant halfway house, I've been born again. Bloggerdom, be on notice. King Pied is back, baby.

As usual, I'll mention that the contributors and I have discussed some changes (that most assuredly won't be made, per ususal) to the Pie-Eyed Picayune. I'll be sharing the adminstration duties with some of my more nurturing partners. Also, since we only learn to appreciate things when they are near exinction, we will all make a more concerted effort to raise the PeP from the ashes, until it rises like the Phoenix silhouetted against the Mississippi sunrise.

Be hearty; be humble, fellow PePpers. I'll be seeing you soon!

PiedPiper

What Hath God Wrought?




Mandingo, thus spoken in the third person here, travelled down to Iowa last weekend. While eating at Battle's Bar-BQ on Welch Avenue in Ames he picked up City View, a self-serious weekly arts and culture rag that originates in DesMoines. In it, he found that only two places in Iowa really save the blessed state from becoming a "cultural backwater"...Ames, of course, and Iowa City (Ankeny, has struggled mightily to become the third cultural ferment). Today, God smote IC with a rash of tornadoes and the world is a little bit colder, a little bit quieter. One person died, and one girl spent the ordeal in a telephone booth--inside her sorority house. [cnn]