Does the Carlyle Really Need Lights on Top?

The Carlyle Is Lit, originally uploaded by y entonces.

Check out this awesome photo by y entonces.

I didn’t realize the Carlyle was going to be illuminated . My first impression is, “Why?” It already stands out among buildings on the West bank of the river due to it’s size. This will be even more the case once the units are occupied.

Could the old Cedar Ave Bridge Reopen?

The Other Mike and I discovered that the old Cedar Ave Bridge had closed when we tried crossing it by bike last summer.

Old Cedar Ave Bridge
Photo: John A. Weeks, III. If you like bridges, check out the rest of Weeks’ offerings.

It looks like we may have a chance to cross it again sometime in the future:

Bikers, hikers still hope bridge reopens

It’s been more than four years since the city of Bloomington closed the rusty bridge, but the old Cedar Avenue crossing in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge still stands, and efforts to reopen it to the cyclists, hikers and birders who used it are still alive.

Anyone have a little cash in their mattress? The total cost is ~$4.5 million:

The project already has $1 million in federal funding and $300,000 from the Metropolitan Council, which would leave a funding gap of about $1.2 million if the Legislature approves the bill this spring. Advocates say fundraising has been slow, despite widespread agreement among residents and local leaders that the bridge deserves to reopen.

Count me among the residents who’d like to see the bridge reopened. It makes for a nice bike crossing after riding along the east side of the river and heading back past the MOA and airport.

MSP Observation Deck

MSP Observation Deck, originally uploaded by s4xton.

Aaron offers a great reminder about the coolness of the MSP observation deck along with this hilarious nugget from his observing from the observation deck:

Two of them were fully uniformed TSA agents making out.

Uniformed make out sessions? Wow.

Kweichow Moutai “Wine”

Kweichow Moutai “Wine”, originally uploaded by edkohler.

They called it wine at Manderin Kitchen, but it’s 106 proof. Mandarin Kitchen on Lyndale South of 494 has some amazing seafood.

We Need More Fiscal Honesty in the Minnesota State Budget Forecast

If I told Carly that we should stay in our house for another 5 years because it will be worth more when we go to sell it, she’d probably counter with something like, “But won’t houses we’re trying to buy also be more expensive in 5 years?” Touché.

Sadly, this logic doesn’t seem to apply to the Pawlenty administration who’s budget forecasts take the benefits of increased revenues into consideration while ignoring increased future expenses caused by inflation.

State Budget Forecast: Little Has Changed, in More Ways Than One

Leaving inflation out of the forecast helped create expectations of a budget surplus for the next biennium that does not exist. Putting it back in will help the media give an honest picture of the state’s finances and help the public understand what’s realistic – whether they want to spend more or cut taxes.

Charlie Quimby has more on this topic here:

Indeed, how to handle inflation is shaping up to be a legislative struggle — even with a DFL majority in both houses. Right now the state factors inflation when projecting how much revenue will come in. But departments can’t estimate the impact of inflation when planning how much they’ll need to spend in future years.

This budget process, mandated by law in 2002, has two possible effects, both creating downward pressure on spending. 1.Inflated revenues appear to exceed deflated spending estimates. This spurious surplus supports the notion that we’re taxed too much. 2. Departments and programs are funded at less than actual costs, forcing cuts that aren’t directly traceable to the politicians who caused them.

Come on, Pawlenty. Try running the state like you’d run your own household’s budget.

Minnesota Campaign Report Blog

I found out about the Minnesota Campaign Report blog the other day when they picked up on my Google Should buy the Ford Plant article on Technology Evangelist.

I’ve since had a chance to exchange a few emails with the administrator, Joe Bodell, and peruse the site a bit and have to say that it’s a great local political site. The site manages to generate rather well thought out opinions and the comments following posts are much less divisive and sane than I’m used to seeing on political sites.

$2.12 vs. $2.29

$2.12 vs. $2.29, originally uploaded by edkohler.

I got a kick out of watching people pay $2.29 at this Mobil when there is a 76 station across the street with a well lit sign displaying $2.12 per gallon.

No, there is not a bust street, island, or moat separating the two.