- Plutocracy reigns in Washington, DC. Various attendees railed against the big money interests whose lobbyists turn our Congresspeople against the interests of the folks who elected them.
- We need more free public health clinics. No, I did not plant a fellow traveler. A women at another table proposed this idea as an alternative to health care reform.
- We should follow Brazil's model of producing ethanol from sugar cane. Bjorklund is big on ethanol. He cited Brazil's self-sufficiency as a model for getting off oil.
- Small farms should build more alcohol stills. Bjorklund says we could kick oil for good if every small farm just brewed the 10,000 gallons of alcohol the law allows and if we converted our cars to run on alcohol the way old Model Ts could. Smarter folks can check the numbers, but energy self-sufficiency is a worthy goal.
- "I'm o.k. with single-payer...." Another double take. Bjorklund said he'd rather see it at the state level. I said if he can show me each state has a big enough risk pool to make a single-payer system work, I can give up my preferred national system.
- We can have more influence with our state legislators than with our Congressional delegation. Agreed: if you want to turn picnic rhetoric into meaningful change, the place to start is with Russell Olson, Gerry Lange, and Mitch Fargen. Call them, write them, make your voice heard in Pierre!
- A consistent Glenn Beck agenda means economic pain for South Dakota. I over-generalize by referring to a "consistent Glenn Beck agenda"—this very list should demonstrate the lack of one among the Madison picnickers. But a regular comment appears to be that we need to keep our money here instead of paying lots of federal taxes and then taking federal dollars with all the strings attached. I pointed out that South Dakota gets $1.53 in federal money for every $1.00 we pay in. Paragon of consistency Steve Sibson acknowledged that turning down federal money means economic pain for our welfare state. A hangover is no fun, but you can't stay drunk.
- "I'm not a public speaker." Jason Bjorklund kept reminding us of this fact, by word and by action.
- We need to get away from the Right-Left thing. Prick a seemingly right-wing crowd, and you find a melange of ideas that might be properly fixed all along the political spectrum. Trying to characterize last night's crowd as Right does no more to advance discourse than to characterize me as Left.
- Hot dogs are good. I'm as happy to sit down for processed pig brains gently charred as the next guy.
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