John Thune selling out the Internet

Our neighbours seem to have much stronger opinions about Net Neutrality than North Dakota’s Senators:  You have Al Franken on one side, defending the open internet in defiance of his old bosses at Comcast, and then you have John Thune in South Dakota signing on with the pay-to-play crowd, yukking up about “opportunity” while showing off to FCC Commissioners the kind of small businesses that won’t be able to afford access to the marketplace if regulations allowing ISPs to double-dip go forward.

“Net neutrality” isn’t something new — it happens to be the way the Internet has always worked.  What has changed is that certain ISPs want to change the rules of the game, count things they shouldn’t and charge people they shouldn’t as many times as they please.

Demonized over drink

Bluestem Prairie reports Pat Razdak, the President of the Teamsters regional group including Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas, has published an open letter withdrawing union support for Duluth DFLer Roger Reinert, the architect of a proposed measure that would have allowed people to fill growlers on Sundays, a teensy tiny inroad into the dry Sunday laws in Minnesota.

A good public letter would tell Minnesotans exactly why the Teamsters want to keep Jane Schmo from her brewski one day out of the week.  Arguing for the sanctity of the work week, or outing the anonymous liquor wholesaler they claim is actually the bad guy threatening union jobs, might have had some cachet.  But Radzak failed to demonstrate for the public interest, just why the Teamsters care so much whether people can buy alcohol on Sundays.

To a policy analyst, the letter reads entirely like a he-said-she-said; one can clearly see a personal animosity, and a desire to reverse public misconceptions, but facts and references for the public to follow up on are not there.  The scathing tone over what essentially is a single policy disagreement gives the appearance that the Teamsters cannot tolerate dissent.

Ontario drifting toward renewed Liberal minority

It’s unclear if the election campaign in Ontario is actually going to change anything.  The current projection from 308 shows the Liberals hovering around even to +1 seat, the Tories even to +2, and the NDP lagging at -2 to even.

Barring a phenomenal surge for one of the camps in the last two weeks, the power balance in the Ontario Parliament isn’t moving, and the budget that the Liberals are planning to re-introduce won’t pass the new assembly, unless they decide to change it until one or both of the opposition parties see something they like.

Huge hole in Agriculture Race

A new poll shows that Ryan Taylor and Doug Goehring are on equal footing going into the summer. According to the Mellman Group poll commissioned by the League, both candidates enjoy 36% support and Independent voters aren’t breaking either way as of yet. As of yet, there’s been very little excitement in the campaign — so who is going to pick up 15% from the middle here?

Mellman Group Poll on the Agriculture Comissioner Race (20 May 2014)

Jack Dalrymple’s crooked pasta gets its due

"Best Choice" Spaghetti

Whatever happened to affordable local pasta?

Dakota Growers Pasta was an honest, farmer-owned outfit once.  You could get 2 pounds of spaghetti in a box for a fair price — a price that was cheaper in North Dakota than anywhere else in the world.

But somewhere along the line, Jack Dalrymple and other hollow-hearted business suits got hold of it and started selling pasta big-city style, giving it away on The Price is Right and other nonsense, and making the ridiculous claim that Dreamfields whole wheat pasta was almost entirely indigestible.

Dakota Growers Pasta suddenly crept up the aisle — what was once the affordable 75-cent box suddenly became a $3 luxury, and that was when Dakota Growers Pasta left my diet for good.

Some consumers may get their money back from all the lies told about Dreamfields over the years.  But North Dakotans like myself who used to buy local and get a local price will never get their pasta co-op back.