On Tuesday I drove to the Twin Cities to see a movie about a man who rode his bike across the United States to raise money for the MS Society. The man was Phil Keoghan (pronounced KO-gan), the host of the CBS TV show "The Amazing Race." Keoghan turned 40 in 2007 and wanted to do something special, and decided riding across the U.S. was the ticket. He finally carved out a couple months of time in the Spring of 2009, and started east from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. His father came along and drove the support truck, pulling a massive Airstream trailer. He rode 100-miles a day, and along the way Keoghan and his co-riders experienced sand storms, near-freezing temperatures, rain, wind, dehydration in Iowa and a nasty spill on wet railroad tracks in Indiana. He made it though, and raised more than $400,000 for the MS Society. I've ridden in 4 MS rides across Minnesota and raised more than $4000, so I could relate to what Phil did. In 2012 I turn 50, and I'd love to be able to ride across the country but I don't see being able to find the time. Keoghan was at the film premiere Friday and was a genuinely nice, funny guy. Originally from New Zealand, he grew up in Antiqua and started taking long bike rides at a young age, just like I did. It's nice to see these some of these Hollywood types are real people, and it's refreshing to meet someone like Phil Keoghan. I didn't get any pictures of him with me, but I did ask him to tape a message on my camcorder to my wife Sharon, who didn't come, saying "wish you were here." He hammed it up and seemed to enjoy himself. Amazing Race is already one of my favorite shows, and after meeting Phil, it moves up a few more notches on my list.
Governor Dayton gave his first "State of the State" address in St. Paul this week. He repeated his intention to raise taxes on upper-income Minnesotans, saying they haven't been paying their share. While they have paid a lower rate, they have been paying the bulk amount of the taxes that go into state coffers. The profits from a small business are counted as personal income for small businessmen and women, making it appear they are wealthy when in fact they are providing jobs for a lot of people. Raising their taxes will likely mean many will have to let some employees go. Not a real good jobs package. Dayton also vetoed a Republican-led bill to cut the deficit by 1 billion dollars by making permanent some of last year's Local Government Aid reductions to cities and counties across the state. While the veto may be somewhat of a relief to cities and counties, the whole 6.2 billion dollar deficit still is sitting there, waiting to be addressed.