Monthly Archives: January 2011


St. Paul laughs in face of law

By Katie Kieffer

Image credit: St. Paul, MN by "cursedthing" on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The City of St. Paul is the sister city to Taxapolis. But whereas the City of Minneapolis publicly raises property taxes to support its drunken spending habits, the City of St. Paul clandestinely ignores the law to get its way.

I want to shine some sunshine on a $9 million problem that the City of St. Paul seems willing to hide from the public eye. This problem is known as “The Lofts of Farmers Market.” The City of St. Paul violated Minnesota Statute 471.345, Uniform Municipal Contracting Law and St. Paul Ordinance 82.02 in awarding the construction contract to Shaw-Lundquist and Associates over Rochon Corp. for The Lofts of Farmers Market. Continue reading

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We kiss, we fight China

By Katie Kieffer

Quilin, China, The Two Towers downtown. Image credit: "China 1 004" by Don Blaine on Flickr via Creative Commons.

We’re up then we’re down,” is a Katy Perryesque way to describe U.S.-China relations.

Mixed messages are useful if we want to confuse, frustrate or anger another country. They are not useful in diplomacy or relationship-building. Mixed messages are dangerous because they make the U.S. appear weak and untrustworthy. Here are some of the mixed messages that we’ve given China, our biggest debtor and whose central bank owns $896 billion in Treasury bonds: Continue reading

Posted in Economy, National Security | 1 Comment


‘Stop this war in Afghanistan’

By Katie Kieffer

Image credit: "Afghanistan Observes 2007 International Peace Day" by United Nations Photo on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke must have known that his last words would echo around the globe. Unsure if he would survive emergency aorta surgery, he told his doctors: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Holbrooke never came out of that surgery: He left this world on Dec. 13, 2010. Holbrooke was a man of influence in peace-brokering and foreign affairs. This week, the White House will honor him at his funeral in Washington.

At the time of his death, he was the Obama Administration’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was a key diplomatic leader in both the Clinton and Carter Administrations and also advised Sen. John Kerry and former Sen. Al Gore. Despite his liberal leanings, I respect Holbrooke for urgently seeking to end the War in Afghanistan. Sadly, Holbrooke did not live to successfully end this war, as he did the War in Bosnia in 1995.

We can honor Holbrooke by thinking realistically about Afghanistan and by pursuing peace. But, first, we need to understand Afghanistan. Continue reading

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Keep the BCS, baby!

By Katie Kieffer

2010 BCS Championship. Image credit: "The BCS National Championship" by 50%ChanceofRain on Flickr via Creative Commons.

It’s college football championship season and time for the annual debate on whether to keep the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) or switch out to a playoff system. Last fall, I blogged about this topic here and here to show why politicians should leave football alone. I still think politicians should stay out of sports and focus on bigger issues like national security and job creation.

The problem is, pro-playoff politicians like Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) are trying to throw mud on the BCS’ face and financial heavyweights like billionaire Mark Cuban are lobbying politicians for a playoff system. Since outspoken politicians and lobbyists on the left and the right favor a playoff, the debate is not going away any time soon. Continue reading

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