Thursday, August 31, 2006
How it works: Send your check to the address listed after the candidate of your choice. The candidate's committee will send you a receipt in the mail. Fill out this form and mail the form and the receipt to:
Minnesota Political Contribution Refund
Minnesota Department of Revenue
St. Paul, MN 55146-1800
and the State sends you your money back in a couple of weeks. You win, your DFL candidate wins, and that means the State wins. What could be better?
The dollar figure after each candidate's name is their current cash on hand as of August 21st.
Now, off to the races.
Denise Dittrich (47A - Champlin) $2,432
(v. John Tomczak-$4,135)
Dittrich Volunteer Committee
6108 115th Ave. N.
Champlin, MN 55316
Dittrich is a DFL incumbent in a Republican leaning district. She is probably the number one target of the MNGOP this year, as demonstrated by all the ink they've been spilling trying to smear her through her husband. Note-Dittrich's campaign site is down right now. I'll change the link above when the site goes live again.
Andy Welti (30B - Rochester) $15,716
(v. Bill Kuisle-$25,691)
Andy Welti for State Representative
RR 2 Box 17
Plainview, MN 55964
Welti is an incumbent who won his seat with a very narrow victory in 2004. Rightly or wrongly, Rochester is often viewed as a Republican stronghold, but it has been trending back to center and center/left candidates lately. This is a good place to help continue that trend. Bonus points to this race: helping to increase Dem. turnout in the 1st District helps Tim Walz for CD-1.
Melissa Hortman (47B - Brooklyn Park) $1,185
(v. Andrew Reinhardt-$3,432)
Melissa Hortman Campaign Committee
8710 Windsor Terrace
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
(or go here to make a paypal donation: http://www.melissahortman.com/donate)
Hortman won a narrow victory for this seat in '04. The district is fairly evenly divided.
Maria Ruud (42A - Minnetonka) $15,454
(v. Bill Cullen-$8,720)
Maria Ruud Volunteer Committee
mail the check and the completed form to:
Deb O'Connor, Treasurer
1815 Timberline Trail
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Ruud won a very narrow victory (less than 1 point) in a district which is almost evenly split. I've downgraded this one slightly due to Ruud's current money advantage.
David Bly (25B - Northfield) $4,931
(v. Ray Cox-$22,902)
The David Bly Campaign
211 N. Lincoln St.
Northfield, MN 55057
(or go here to make a paypal donation: http://davidbly.com/index.php/interact/donate/)
Cox won the seat narrowly in the last cycle, but has a large money advantage. Bonus points: DFLers who vote for Bly also get to vote for Coleen Rowley.
Ann Lynch (30 - Rochester) $19,937
(v. Scott Wright-$16,031)
Lynch for Senate
P.O. Box 7111
Rochester, MN 55903
Following Sen. Kiscaden's retirement this is an open seat and one the DFL needs to hold. As stated above, Rochester used to be solid GOP territory, but is now trending blue (or purple, anyway) Bonus points: Helps Tim Walz in CD 1.
Kathy Sheran (23 - Mankato) $26,441
(v. Andy Piepho-$16,291)
Sheran for State Senate Committee
317 North Borad ST.
Mankato , MN 56001
An open seat in a toss up district. Piepho is behind in the money due to a primary fight, with that behind him he will likely challenge Sheran hard. Bonus Points: 1st CD.
Sandy Rummel (53 - Shoreview) $18,219
(v. Mandy Reiter-$24,723)
Volunteers for Rummel Committee
2697 East County Rd. E - Box 286
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
A strong candidate DFL candidate running against a very conservative Republican? Sounds like a good race to support to me, even if this district leans GOP. Bonus points: Much of this district lies in the hotly contested 6th CD.
Dean Johnson (13 - Wilmar) $38,950
(v. Joseph Gimse-$25,262)
(Dean) Johnson Volunteer Committee
PO Box 996
Willmar, MN 56201
Johnson is a very good politician with high name recognition and a solid money lead. Still, he represents a generally Republican leaning district and there will likely be a lot of money spent trying to unseat him this year, so this race remains on the list.
Andrew Borene (41 - Edina) $33,602
(v. Geoff Michael $69,099)
Neighbors for Borene
P.O. Box 24741
Edina, MN 55424-0741
(or here for paypal online donation: http://www.andrewborene.com/contribute.htm)
Beloved of many local bloggers and (from what I hear) all around good-guy Andrew Borene is in a very expensive race with GOP incumbent Michael. Once a solidly GOP district, the fightin' forty first went for Kerry by a narrow margin in '04 so things could be looking up. Still, this race has to be considered the longest shot on this list.
A huge shout out to the sadly defunct Minntelect blog, from which I culled much of this information. My hat's off to you. Even with your pioneering work, this post took many many hours to write. I can't imagine if I could have gotten it done without your research.
Ag, from Truth Sufer, provides a letter he received from an Ember Reichgott Junge supporter:
Her endorsed DFL opponent, Keith Ellison, has had limited political experience in the Minnesota House... While he shares Senator Reichgott's positions on key issues of importance to DFLers, we have not heard him renounce the aspects of Islam that are anathema to our American belief system, such as death for apostasy and the subordination of women.
Ag shows what a letter would be like if he were to twist it around to try to paint Junge in the same mold:
While she shares Representative Ellison's positions on key issues of importance to DFLers, we have not heard her renounce those aspects of Christianity that are anathema to our American belief system, such as calling for the death of all homosexuals or limiting free speech for women.
Keith Ellison has had to weather many attacks since he was endorsed by the DFL. But none have been as vicious as the most recent attacks. After a bit of investigating, Dan Weinand has a good (although not ironclad) reason to believe that the Ostrow campaign was behind the latest release of documents, while JD at MNPublius gives a greater look into the veracity and facts of the alleged events.
It's two weeks until the primary, and there's a very strong chance that the 5th CD winner will be the one who keeps his or her hands the cleanest.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Short answer is this:
It's the difference between
pol i tics (n.)
1. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.
dem a gogu er y (n.)
impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace.
The longer answer is this:
It's perfectly acceptable to talk about what you (as a politician) have done or are going to do about terrorism. It's not acceptable to yell "TERROR!!" at people and assume that answers everything.
Or, using some current examples, it's politics for a candidate for federal office to discuss their plans for catching Osama Bin Laden. It's demagoguery to call a candidate "Osama's Candidate" and assume that explains everything.
To put it even more plainly:
Trying to imply that Patty Wetterling is somehow connected to Saddam and Osama (or that they are connected to each other is demagoguery.
To talk about how FEMA failed New Orleans and how to prevent such disasters in the future is politics.
If Democrats wanted to sink to GOP levels of demagoguery it would look something like this:
[ad begins with black screen]
[Fade to black]
[Fade in to:]
"Last year, this country was struck by a terrible blow. Republicans claim we had no way of knowing this was coming. Now that it's here, they have no plan for preventing future strikes. They are more concerned with tax cuts for their rich friends than protecting this country from another hurricane strike."
[Fade to black]
[Fade in to:]
"This year many more deadly hurricanes are waiting. Preparing to strike our unprotected borders while Republicans debate the estate tax."
[Focus down to:]
[Shock sting, then voice over]
"but you don't have to live in fear."
[Quick cut to:]
The Democrats have a plan to prevent hurricanes. Vote Democrat this November.
That would be demagoguery. Saying "something went wrong with FEMA and we need to fix it" is politics. Saying "Here's our plan to fix the situation in Iraq" is politics. Saying "CUT N' RUN! CUT N' RUN!" is demagoguery. Starting to see what I mean?
Before the usual trolls come out of the woodwork: I'm not saying Republicans always engage in demagoguery, or that Democrats never do. But I will say that there is a lot more of it coming from one side than the other.
I've been hearing a lot of geese lately. I'm not sure if they are going south already - in all honestly, it looked like they were heading east, and I don't know what evils that portends.
But what really has me convinced is that a mouse moved into the house already. We had a few mice last winter, and a few weeks of traps and nasty little pellets took care of them.
This weekend we met Supermouse. For three days he has licked the peanutbutter off the traps and went merrily on his way.
A wily one, that Supermouse. This morning at 7:30 he was offered chunky peanutbutter versus creamy. That chunk was his downfall. By 8 am it was over, and we were the victors.
He will be getting a hero's funeral in a few minutes, once I finally work up enough nerve to pull him out. I will say a few words about mighty Moby Mouse and then inter him in his final resting place (the trash bin outside).
Rest in peace, Mr. Moby.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Is this a new low in politics, and does this mean nothing is off-limits? Bailey answers our questions...
Q: We've seen you referred to in various mailings from the Kline campaign as "senior staff," "Research and Communications Director" and "top issues advisor." What exactly is your role for the Coleen Rowley campaign?
I'm on the org chart as 'Director of Earned Media'. So ironically, Kline's recent attacks have made my job much easier. In reality, I'm mostly just a writer. I write and edit copy to be released, and I'm the principal author on the campaign's weblog, The Blotter.
Q: Earlier in July, a member of John Kline's campaign staff was accused of anonymously posting to pro-Rowely campaign sites, precipitating the Kline campaign's argument that Rowley was the first to begin attacking staff as a leg of the campaign itself (see Bratlie press release). Are those accusations valid, and if not, how do these instances differ?
Actually, on August 1, the Rowley campaign delivered a letter to John Kline's office calling out three instances of questionable behavior by Kline's staff. One was the instance of anonymously commenting on DumpJohnKline to which you refer, and the other two were instances in which John Kline's staff had written what we felt were excessively hostile letters to the editor.
But to my knowledge, the first instance of explicitly calling out a staff member came in mid-July, when Ms. Bratlie publicly accused me of having written a letter to ThisWeek Eagan without identifying myself as a member of Rowley's staff. Her accusation was false; I had written the letter before joining Rowley for Congress, but it was published after I joined.
Putting aside the question of 'who started it', I think the difference is pretty clear. Rowley for Congress called attention to public statements members of John Kline's staff had made about the campaign. But they're attacking me based on things I said and did months or even years before joining Rowley for Congress. So the difference is that we're calling attention to public statements they've made about the campaign, while they're publicizing things that were never part of the campaign.
Q: Does the Rowley campaign have a stance as to what issues/people are and are not 'fair game' in her run for office? Where is the line between campaign issues and mudslinging?
There's no set policy. Everyone on Rowley for Congress understands that we're campaigning against John Kline based on his record over the past four years: his support for the occupation of Iraq, for privatizing Social Security, for Medicare Part D. Anyone who looks at the campaign web site or blog, or who's met Coleen knows that's where our focus is. It has honestly never occurred to me to raise an issue about anything Kline's staff may have done in his or her personal life, and I'm pretty sure it's never occurred to anyone else on the Rowley for Congress staff.
The clear delineation is based on the issues. The posts I write on The Blotter are fair game. Coleen's public statements are fair game. Discussing John Kline's record for the past four years in Congress is fair game. Mailing out fliers containing wild-eyed distortions based on things I said or did months and years before I joined the campaign is not fair game. I'm fairly certain John Kline and his staff understand this distinction; they're just ignoring it.
Q: Has the increased media attention recently had any effects on the Rowley campaign?
Well, of course the political season is heating up and so there's increased interest in the race anyway. Nevertheless, I'm told that there's been an increase in volunteer signups, requests for lawn signs, and web traffic. The prevailing view on our side is that Kline's attacks have backfired and demonstrated to everyone Coleen Rowley's resolve and unwillingness to back down, which obviously helps us.
Q: Rather than sending out press releases on campaign staff workers, what issues would the campaign prefer to be focusing on?
A: Coleen's priorities are comprehensive ethics reform, responsible redeployment from Iraq, and universal health care. If you search around for recent statements from Kline on any of these issues, it immediately becomes clear that he doesn't want to discuss them. No doubt this is the reason he's spent the last few weeks focusing on me.
Two things about this story struck me. First was this line:
"Kline, running for a third term in a race that has become one of Minnesota's nastiest and most personally acrimonious..."
Of course, the story doesn't assign blame, but it's pretty clear where blame lies. This race is nasty and acrimonious because Kline has made it so. Kline and only Kline has slung personal insults. Heck, Kline is the only candidate in my memory to have sunk so low that he's lobbing insults at his opponent's staff.
The closest Rowley has ever come was the Col. Klink incident earlier in the year. A bad choice and in poor taste no doubt, but clearly meant in jest and for which she apologized. Other than that incident she has run a clean issues driven campaign, exactly the kind of campaign that everybody claims to want. Kline has run the dirtiest campaign of any Republican in this state. Before it's over, I fully expect this race to top the sliminess of Kennedy's '04 campaign in which he tried to draw a link between Patty Wetterling and Osama Bin Laden.
I guess I can't blame Kline, however. If I had a record of voting with Bush 95% of the time, a 0% rating from the Disabled Veterans Association, an "F" on education and 0% on the environment, I'd probably run away from my record as well.
The second thing was this:
"The ad also calls into question Rowley's support from liberal donors..."
This seems like a strange line of attack, considering the tens of thousands of tainted dollars Kline has received from the now defunct ARMPAC of Tom Delay and other questionable sources.
Also, did you know that Kline's PAC has sent money to Katherine Harris' election committee? You know, this Katherine Harris:
So remember that, Kline donors. When you're asked to give money to Kline you might actually be giving money to people like Katherine Harris instead. Also, using Kline's own standards, can we assume he supports everything Harris says? I eagerly await his campaign's response....
Harris ignited a furor with her Witness interview. She sounded a fervent evangelical tone, saying that God "chooses our rulers," that voters needed to send Christians to political office and that God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular laws."
Speaking to Witness editors, Harris said:
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."
But that's no excuse. So I promise some good stuff over the next couple of days, including the long awaited local races post where I'm hoping we can some input from everybody (especially Minntellect, if he/she is still out there) as to which state races we should be paying more attention to.
Monday, August 28, 2006
For the most part, I slowly weaned myself of Dvk when it became KvM. The addition of First Ringer made for some of the most substantial, well-written posts I've had the pleasure of reading (and disagreeing with, of course). But as the posting numbers began shifting to an "all Triple A all the time" blog, I stopped seeing it as a quality source for news from the other side and a vitriolic, desperate spin machine.
I get to see Republican press releases in other realms, I don't need to go to the blog to read the same thing.
I still peruse KvM when I want an easy post off of some low-hanging fruit, but for the most part I find myself reading it less yet being happier it exists. Honestly, Triple A is possibly the best thing that happened to the Klobuchar campaign since the Republicans picked Mark Kennedy for their candidate.
But it may be time to call the whole thing off. They officially jumped the shark today by posting the new Zogby numbers not only as "Kennedy gaining momentum" even though he dropped in the poll, but started touting Zogby numbers as if they hadn't been spending all of their time pushing how absolutely awful Zogby was as a poll.
The cry of desperation? The result of an obvious case of split blog personality? Maybe both. But Gary was a quality blogger who for some reason appears to have been put on time-out as if he hadn't been eating his vegetables or making his bed every morning. When Gary starts posting again, rather than limiting his comments to occasional peripheral "Gary" endnotes on other contributors' posts, they might be a blog worth fighting against again.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
As always at Keegans, I had more fun out on the back porch once the trivia was over than in the bar itself, including chatting with Lileks for more time than I ever would have imagined. It almost made me feel guilty that I haven't read a word he's written since that day two years ago that they put an editorial of his in the commentary section.
On the other hand, I've never read anything Keillor has written either.
We'll be back on Monday, as I have wooed smartie with a bottle of wine into watching the emmys with me tonight. I told him we can flip to football during the commercial breaks.
If you need a serious blogging fix before then, be sure to travel over here.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Coupled with the Lovely Miss Tild and our favorite conservative, the Crazy Uke (take that, Lileks!), "3 Kommies and a Kapitalist" are planning to take the prize, despite the fact that we're only in 4th in the odds.
Come down to Keegans and cheer us on, if you have a hankering to...
(Seriously, please do. We're the only three liberals in the bar otherwise.)
Keegans - 8:30 tonight, competition at 9
Entry fee (for us, not for the audience) and anything else they hit us up for goes to Soldiers Angels, proving liberals do support the troops even if the war was based on a lie.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I have never been in the Presidential limousine before so I was a little unsure what to do when the limousine stopped at the custard stand. I wasn't sure if I should exit with the President or get out of my side of the car. Karl Rove told me I would exit out the door on my side after The President steps out and someone would open the door for me. I could not believe I was discussing what flavor of custard to order with the President of the United States!
President Bush was so incredibly engaging with the servers. He actually stuck half of his body through the order window and asked, "Can anybody get some custard here." It was fun to see the excitement in the people's faces when it dawned on them that President Bush was in the same line to order custard. People were whipping out their cell phones to call loved one to say, you will not believe who is here. Everyone wanted to get their picture taken with him.
Always the mom, I thought, we need napkins. I asked the President if he had a napkin and he said no. So, I had to quickly grab napkins. I cannot imagine dripping custard in the Presidential limousine.
President Bush and I did share our custards with Governor Pawlenty, Senator Coleman and Karl Rove. Every bit of custard was gone well before we arrived at the Jundt home!
Or, as Paul puts it, Miers incarnate.
Well, Minnesota ain't all that progressive. There has been a right wing infestation the few election cycles, that put Norm Coleman in the US Senate, made a neocon the governor and made the GOP majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives. There is a Democratic majority in the state Senate, but just barely. The Bush administration has been real hot on finishing making Minnesota red-- Bush and Cheney seem to be in this state more than Jesse Ventura was while he was pretending to be governor.
Despite the chill, a nice interview with Keith Ellison is in there, too.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
It's not true.
I thought it seemed a little fishy, so I did a little checking and sure enough-staged photo op.
So, memo to the media, I know you're all anxious to avoid cries of "liberal bias" but that doesn't absolve you of the need to research stories that show Republicans in a good light.
Kline has thus far avoided Rowley's offers for a second debate to take place on Air America at a time of Kline's choosing.
I have no doubt of Kline's courage. His military career was exemplary. So why is he so skittish about debating Rowley that he has to make sure the deck is stacked in his favor before he'll meet her face-to-face?
hat tip to: Blog of the Moderate Left
Minnesota Monitor's own Sara Reller was able to attend the live press conference of Republican Attorney General candidate Jeff Johnson's press conference at the State Capital today. A small gathering with few media present, Sara called in with a report one can easily title "Much Ado About Nothing."
It turns out that Mr. Johnson did not in fact file an ethics complaint against Mike Hatch, rather, a member of the Minnesota Republican Party did. However, Johnson took the opportunity to call this press conference to discuss "integrity of the office."
Johnson told the audience he would like the AG office to have "the same stellar reputation it had 20 years ago under Democrats," referring in his speech to former AG Skip Humphrey. He said that the AG's job is to protect people from criminals and have "full integrity," and that he wants to protect the young children most of all.
During his press conference, he also stated that current Attorney General Mike Hatch calls too many press conferences, then stated that he has been running for a year and a half on the integrity in office issue to justify his calling for the conference today.
Despite stating that he had "a litany of allegations" to challenge Hatch with, Johnson did not bring up any examples of specific allegations to the press.
To summarize, Jeff Johnson held a press conference to speak about integrity of office based on an ethic complaint he did not file, referring to no specific issues of ethical violations despite a "litany" of such occurrences allegedly at his fingertips, while chastizing the current AG for calling too many press conferences.
So one of these days, you're going to have all your medical records on a little key that you can then plug into a computer, and all of a sudden, information is at the provider's fingertips, which makes the system a lot more efficient, which means less costly, but also saves on medical errors.But the problem we face is that the -- we've got to develop a standard language. Medicine is a fairly complicated -- got a complicated dictionary, let's put it that way.
Not everyone in the area was happy about the visit, including those who had been invited to the event:
There are only a handful of homes along Bracketts Point, big homes with big lots sweeping down to big water where big boats stand ready. But as far as Hannaford had heard, only two of her neighbors were hoping to see the president.
"I don't know anybody who's going," Hannaford said, nodding toward the end of the leafy peninsula that juts out into Lake Minnetonka between Smith and Browns Bays.
The protest signs were made by Hannaford's daughter, Mary Connolly, a high school senior. "We Believe in Global Warming" one sign said. "You Should, Too," said the second.
The cops wouldn't let Mary put up her polite signs until they could verify that she lived on Bracketts Point. Their heads probably are still spinning. A protest on the point.
As for the $500,000 raised at this event, I find myself looking back at the $1 million raised when Kennedy was visitied by the President last December and wondering, "Does this mean the president is only half as appealing now?"
Gil Gutknecht won his battle to stay on the ballot, but Judge Alan Page was struck by the fact that there is a different standard for non-major parties than for those with major party status.
He may be on the ballot, but that doesn't signal the end of his troubles....
Rep. Gil Gutknecht is moving up in the national charts, and that's not necessarily good news for him.
Gutknecht, R-Minn., is involved in the 39th hottest House race in the nation, according to the latest rankings by National Journal. In its previous ranking, the face-off against Democrat Tim Walz was considered the 46th hottest in the country.
It's getting hot in here indeed...
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Oh, who are we kidding? We all knew Kennedy would be there....
A security checkpoint was closed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Tuesday after security officials complained of irritating fumes.
This happened a few hours before President Bush arrived, so I'm sure it had nothing to do with my last post.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Mesaba Energy Project-more information needed before determining if proposal is good for MinnesotaRead the rest.
What's the value of 100-200 permanent jobs on the Iron Range? Some would no doubt call them priceless, and advocate anything that offered good paying employment in the region.
But we all know that everything good comes with a cost and smart consumers know to look before they leap. We wouldn't buy a new car without knowing the price tag and we sure as heck shouldn't buy a power plant without understanding the full implications of our decision.
Unfortunately, that appears to be what the Legislature, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Sen. Norm Coleman have done with Excelsior Energy's proposal to develop a series of large coal gasification power plants on the Iron Range. While even critics agree that coal gasification has tremendous promise as a way to burn coal with far fewer emissions than conventional power plants, those stack emissions are just one piece of a complex and incredibly expensive project that will have implications not just for employment on the Iron Range, but for Minnesota's energy future.
As a Democrat, I would like to add my support to Rep. John Kline's effort to put President Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill (Star Tribune, Sept. 17). I think we should make them collectors' items and only issue 33,442,554,240 of them.
Why 33.4 billion? Simple; that is the number of $50 bills it would have taken to pay off the $1,672,127,712,041 increase to the national debt that took place while Reagan was president.
Mike Erlandson, Minneapolis;
former state DFL Party chairman.
It is very obvious that Rep. John Kline was a Marine. He is using "shock and awe" tactics to flood our mailboxes and paper tubes with vicious attacks on Coleen Rowley.I think Kline's voting record (something like 98% with the administration) would cost an awful lot to defend. Unless of course you're perfectly happy with the direction Bush and Kline are taking the country in...
I know he has a 6-to-1 money advantage over the Rowley campaign, but I would rather he spent it to defend his pro-Bush voting record than to smear an honest opponent.
JAMES DOOLEY, APPLE VALLEY
Also, I missed this one last week:
Eat those words
Published: August 14, 2006
"If you're talking to me in eight or 10 months, and we're not starting to see ... actual troop withdrawals, I'll be shocked."
-- Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., after visiting Iraq in November 2005. Two top Army officers testified in Congress this month that they cannot reduce troop levels at this time.
I've had health insurance my entire life. I rarely visit the doctor. Since reaching my teenage years I've probably averaged less than one visit per year, excluding emergency room visits (which are already covered for everybody anyway). Even when I only have to pay $10 to visit the doctor, it's still not something I relish doing and so I only go when I really need to.
I realize that I'm young and relatively healthy so my results are a little skewed, but even allowing for that, is my healthcare usage really that unusual? Are there people out there now who visit the doctor every other week for this or that minor ache and pain? Or is this just a made up worry? Something to scare folks away from the idea of universal coverage? Because frankly, at the moment this objection strikes me as about as honest as saying that "we need to repeal the estate tax to save the family farm".
Friday, August 18, 2006
Rowley Responds to Kline Attack Ad #2, David Bailey to Remain with CampaignYes please. Can we talk about some issues in this race instead of these ridiculous sideshow tactics?
On the controversy surrounding John Kline's recent mailer and David Bailey's role with Rowley for Congress, Coleen Rowley, DFL candidate for U.S. Congress (MN-02), issued this statement:
"John Kline may want to run against David Bailey, but he's not. He's running against Coleen Rowley, and if his attack mailers are any indication, he's running scared right now. He's also running away from his record of support for the disastrous debacle in Iraq, for the Medicare Part D program which is dropping at-risk seniors down the 'donut hole', and for privatizing Social Security," said Rowley.
"David Bailey has made valuable contributions to the campaign, and he will continue to do so. I welcome input and advice from people with a variety of views. This necessarily means I will disagree with both my supporters and staff on certain issues at certain times. But at the end of the day, Coleen Rowley decides what Coleen Rowley stands for, period. And as a 24-year FBI agent who fought organized crime, I emphatically and unequivocally oppose legalization of all drugs, especially methamphetamine, heroin, and crack cocaine," said Rowley
"Now that I have had to answer the ridiculous, scurrilous charge that John Kline indirectly leveled against me, I would like some answers from him. Does he agree with yesterday's ruling that Bush's surveillance of innocent Americans without oversight is unconstitutional? If he is in Congress in 2007, will he push as hard for Social Security privatization as he did in 2005? What does he say to seniors who are falling into the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' and are now responsible for 100% of their prescription drug costs? And finally, what is his plan for bringing the American occupation of Iraq to a successful conclusion? Please be specific," said Rowley.
"When I'm in Congress, I won't hide from questions, even hard questions from my opponents. My track record shows I stand up for what I believe is right, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. And one thing I pledge right now and for as long as I'm in politics: I will never stoop to smearing an unpaid staffer on my opponent's campaign --- or anyone else --- for political gain," said Rowley.
Mr. Kline, what do you think should be done about Iraq?
Mr. Kline, do you feel Medicare Part D has been successful in helping seniors?
Mr. Kline, how has the energy bill benefited you constituents?
Mr. Kline, what do you think about the NSA wiretapping program?
You know, issues. The things your campaign seems determined not to mention.
Of course I don't know the identity of the highly-placed Minn GOP source who told David Broder that polls show the bottom falling out from under Mark Kennedy's Senate bid. But I assure you the source was referring to internal Republican polling, not the month-old Minnesota Poll. [my bold]Now it all makes sense why Kennedy's people heaped such scorn on the Minnesota Poll showing Klobuchar with an almost 20 point lead but wouldn't release their internal polling data to refute the "biased" MN Poll. Their polling showed similar results!
Here's what a political convention will bring: Protesters, police, Zell Miller, prostitutes, barbed wire, government snipers, sniffer dogs, Hillary, barricades, bomb threats, bums, bloggers and Bill O'Reilly.I can tolerate being lumped in with bums and hookers and other riff-raff but I will not tolerate being compared to Bill O'Reilly!
Falafel is for eating.
That is all.
(And happy Friday, everybody)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I wonder if Rowley is intending so send out a misleading scare mail as well? My guess is she has better things to do with her money.
More drug talk here. And a new response to all this nonsense here (warning - satire ahead).
Also, our crack Powerliberal team of investigators have been working around the clock on that site and we finally have a translation for you.
Those two mysterious symbols on his site that have caused such discussion can be translated thusly:
(squiggly line) Heh.
(diferent squiggly line) Indeed.
Wow, he caught onto this blogging thing fast!
Update: Apparently I don't have the "Axis of Evil Language Pack" installed on my browser, so the symbols do not appear correctly in the joke above. You'll just have to imagine them.
Pro-war Buddhist monks in scuffle
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Reuters) -- A scuffle broke out Thursday between saffron-robed monks and anti-war demonstrators at peace rally in Sri Lankan capital.Overhead at the rally: "Screw nirvana, it's time to kick some ***!"
About six or seven monks from a right-wing Buddhist faction had stormed the stage during a peace rally attended by about 1,000 people in the capital, Colombo, shouting pro-war slogans, an AP reporter at the scene said.
This is what we mean when we talk about "Credit Card Republicans". Long lists of tax cuts and new spending with no suggestion of where the money's going to come from. To be fair, I agree with a lot of Kennedy's individual proposals (heck, most of the good ones were cribbed from Democrats anyway) but taken as a whole they're nothing but a big lump of (increased debt) coal.
Kennedy proposes the following new tax cuts in the next six years:
- Make the [Bush] Tax Cuts Permanent
- Prevent New Taxes on Our Farmers, Like the Misguided Sugar and Dairy Producer Taxes
- Permanently Eliminate the Death Tax
- Using Tax Incentives to Attract Math and Science Professionals to the Classroom
- Expand Tax-Free College Savings
- Temporarily Suspend the Federal Gas Tax to Lower Prices at the Pump, While Holding the Highway Trust Fund Harmless
- Promote Wind and Solar Energy by Making the Current Tax Credits Permanent
- Offer Tax Credits for the Uninsured to Purchase Health Insurance
- Make Health Insurance Premiums Tax Deductible
- Stop the Raid on the Social Security Trust Fund
- Prevent a Social Security Payroll Tax Increase
- Increase Access to IRA's and Allow Increased Tax Free Contributions
- Make Sure that the Concurrent Receipt Penalty is Appropriately Phased Out
Kennedy also proposes the following new/continued/increased spending:
- Fully Fund Upgrades to Upper Mississippi River Locks and Dams
- Fully Fund the Federal Government's Share of Special Education Dollars
- Permit Federal Grants to Help Pay Our Best Teachers More When their Students Achieve
- Allow Federal Grant Money to be Used by States to Implement Teacher Competency Testing
- Fully Fund the Low Income Heating Assistance Plan
- Double Funding Again for Health Research
- Protect our Natural Habitat by Doubling Wetland Funding Through the Wetlands Loan Act
- Reduce the Threat of Invasive Species by Funding an Additional $5 Million, a 500% Increase, for Eradication and Containment
- Fully Funding Defense and National Security
- Increase Pay for Our Service Men and Women
- Build on the Record Veterans Funding Increases of the Past Six Years Over the Next Six Years
- Ensure Full Funding for First Responder Equipment and Training
- Fully Funding the Bryne Grant Program [anti-meth program]
- Guarantee Continued Funding for the Bullet Proof Vest Partnership Program
- Ensure Clean and Safe Drinking Water by Increasing Federal Funds to Clean Water Programs to One Billion Dollars by 2010
- Pass the Great Lakes Restoration Act to Give States Block Grants to Reduce Pollution in the Great Lakes
- Complete the Northstar Corridor
- Make Rural Roads Safer by Investing in Highway Repair and Safety Improvements
After all of those promises to debit money from the federal budget Kennedy must have a pretty whizbang plan to create some credit for the Feds, right?
Kennedy proposes increasing government revenue/cutting spending by:
- Hold the Line on Spending by Passing the Line-Item Veto, a Balanced Budget Amendment and Earmark Reform
- Prohibit the Government from Paying Social Security Benefits to Illegal Immigrants and Others who Use Fraudulent Social Security Numbers
Wow, quite the revenue generator there.
Also, Balanced Budget Amendment? You are in congress. A congress entirely controlled by your party. Are modern Republicans really so addicted to a "cut and spend" philosophy that you need a BBA to reign you in? It's not hard to see how we ended up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt under this kind of wishful governance. Cut revenues, increase spending...and the funding will (hopefully) take care of itself. If not, China will soak up our debts for a little longer, right China? Right?
Bluestem has the wiki response to Gil tweaks:
Welcome to Wikipedia, Congressman. It has been brought to our attention that you, and or your staffers, have tried to ammend the article of yourself at Wikipedia. I would like to draw your attention to our policy on editing entries about yourself. Also, I would like you all to understand that we need to have a ballance view on our articles. While I am sure that you are a good Congressman, but the edits that you or your office has done has been considered self promotion and were removed by another one of our editors. If you have any more questioms, please, talk to me. Thank you.
I'm going to assume Tony Garcia got Hacked.
Why I'm very happy that my next flight in NOT on Northwest Airlines...
NEW YORK - Bankrupt Northwest Airlines Corp. advised workers to fish in the trash for things they like or take their dates for a walk in the woods in a move to help workers facing the ax to save money.
The No. 5 U.S. carrier, which has slashed most employees' pay and is looking to cut jobs as it prepares to exit bankruptcy, put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site.
Click to learn more...
The section, entitled "101 ways to save money," does not feature in new versions of the booklet or the Web site.
Northwest spokesman Roman Blahoski said some employees who received the handbook had taken issue with a couple of the items. "We agree that some of these suggestions and tips ... were a bit insensitive," Blahoski told Reuters.
The four-page booklet, "Preparing for a Financial Setback" contained suggestions such as shopping in thrift stores, taking "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods" and not being "shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."
The booklet was part of a 150-page packet to ground workers, such as baggage handlers, whose jobs will likely be cut after their union agreed to allow the airline to outsource some of their work, Blahoski said.
Prepared with the help of an outside company, the booklet encourages employees to manage their money better and prepare for financial emergencies.
"If you have saved some money, pat yourself on the back -- you deserve it," the booklet reads. "Take out only what you need and spend prudently."
Last January, Coleman sought to soften his political past from "liberal" to "activist" in the entry for him in the online encyclopedia. Biden tried to tone down references to a past accusation of plagiarism.
Now Gutknecht, in effect, tried to expunge a reminder of a 12-year term-limit he imposed on himself in 1995.
Page histories available on Wikipedia show that Gutknecht's office tried twice -- July 24 and Aug. 14 -- to remove a 128-word entry on him and replace it with a more flattering 315-word entry taken from his official congressional biography.
In both cases, the original entry -- including his term-limit promise -- was restored within hours.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Four people were arrested at 6:30 pm at the Roseville Army National Guard recruiting office after they refused to leave in protest of the US Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Three of the four arrested were among those that tried to enlist in May, and were denied the ability to serve because of their sexual orientation.
It's hard to ignore the almost 1:1 correlation between declining LGA and increasing property taxes. You can argue that cities should have simply cut their budgets to make up for the shortfall. But...
Quibble all you want about "green roofs" and other less pressing concerns, as this graphic makes clear 50% or more of Minneapolis' budget is dedicated solely to public safety (and that's after drastically cutting a large number of cops during the last couple of years).
The State promised to support for local governments and for education and both of those areas have been raided by Gov. Pawlenty causing massive double digit property tax increases statewide, shifting the tax burden down largely onto the poor and middle class. I for one think it's time to bring a little honesty back to State government.
Watching Fox News (so that you don't have to)I got to see the story grow from a woman having a panic attack (they swore she was just creating a diversion) to the report of the screwdriver, vaseline, matches and a note "written in two languages" regarding Al Qaeda. From the point in which the alleged vaseline story came across the AP wire, Fox began to scroll the illegal substances in their running banner.
The Fox view? Fox would like to remind you that the denial of the items are "probably true," although there are many reasons the airline would like to cover it up (bad security screening, an insider getting them on the plane for her, etc.). And the fact that they diverted to Logan, who has the best terrorism team, shows that it must be a cover-up.
And the right thinks the lefties have the monopoly on conspiracy theories.
UPDATE: I just switched to CNN. The woman was 60 years old, something I didn't hear on Fox. So much for letting Grandma keep her mouthwash.
Because I hate just linking without a "value add" of my own, here's an additional point about the estate tax.
Myth 7: The estate tax constitutes "double taxation" because it applies to assets that already have been taxed once as income.
Reality: Large estates are comprised mostly of "unrealized" capital gains that
have never been taxed; the estate tax is the only means of taxing this income.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
CJ was at the new Punch, I guess.
A Punch in their face
The arrival of Punch on Hennepin may sound the death knell for Pizza Nea.
Because this stretch of real estate is not exactly Italy, how many trendy pizza places can this part of town support?
"We expect a hit on sales temporarily," said Mike Sherwood, who owns two Pizza Neas. "We have some loyal customers. We were in Northeast going on four years; took a chance on the neighborhood before it was fashionable."
While the pizza is very similar, Sherwood said, the difference is that he has waiters, while Punch is "fast casual." A Punch staffer at the Lake Street store said that only St. Paul's Punch has waitrons.
Allow me to take a moment to say, "screw you, Punch." I spent two years living a block from Nea, who has probably the best pizza in Minneapolis. I tried Punch once. It tasted burned.
Saturday I dropped by Nea for lunch with a friend, where we had amazing bruschetta and a fantasic pizza with goat cheese, dunried tomatos and peppers. The place was still having a healthy lunch crowd, mainly of families out with their younger children.
While we were eating, Mr. Sherwood actually stopped by or table to see how our food was, and thank us for coming in rather than going to the competitor down the street. I explained to him that Smartie and I would come in regularly when we lived close, often getting takeout insalata and a pie to have while we watched movies, or would stop in for their two pizza and a bottle of wine Tuesday Night special. He was touched and said that those were the reasons he loved being in this neighborhood.
Who stops by to see how your meal is at Punch?
On a nicer note, I'm watching the Miss Teen USA Pagent. I feel like a huge geek, but just like the Oscars, I'm ashamed but I can't help but watch. And yes, I still root for Nebraska. Not that she ever gets in, but I still send the love. Besides, how can you resist a show judged by B-list star Melissa Rivers and Some Guy Who Plays A Character on "Days of Our Lives"?
UPDATE: Woot - Nebraska's in! I've never seen Nebraska make it into the finals of any pagent before. But can she beat North Dakota? This is the most Midwestern pagent I've ever seen with Montana, Kansas and Michigan, too. No New York or California. I bet half the country just turned it off.
UPDATED AGAIN: Nebraska's out. Kansas and North Dakota still in. That was quick.
FINAL UPDATE: Third place isn't bad, North Dakota. You were way smarter than Montana.
Here's a picture of the whole tree:
The leaves are rough and the edges curl up. Here's a couple close ups of the leaves:
Now we see that her August 22nd fundraiser with President Bush is going to be held in...Stillwater? St. Cloud? Blaine? Nope. Wayzata. (Also not in the 6th, for non-Minnesotans)
To add a little salt to the wound the money raised by this upcoming fundraiser isn't even going to her campaign committee (which actually is headquartered in the 6th). Instead it's earmarked for something called the "Bachmann Victory Fund" which is apparently located in DC. What, Minnesota's not good enough for you, Michele?
It's a good thing Rove deigned to set foot in Bachmann's district, because it's starting to look like none of her other backers will.
And then their ditto heads nod sagely.
The only step left is to throw out the words "strawman" and "ad-hominem" against anyone who disagrees with them and then call it a smug self-satisfied day.
Call it the "Ward Churchill Process".
Truth Surfer has the story.
You have to wonder, with investigators likely to hand down charges soon, why Kline would apologize. After all, the ultimate defense against libel is the truth. Is he really that nervous about negative press? So much so that he's willing to back down on statements that seem to be supported by the evidence? An odd move, and one that I think points up an interesting difference between Kline and Rep. Murtha. Both old and distinguished Marines, but only one willing to go to the mat for the truth.
Update: Coleen Rowley responds to Kline's apology.
(h/t Curly Tales of War Pigs)
Misconduct by military recruiters cited
At the same as they're kicking out increasing numbers of gay soldiers:
WASHINGTON - Military recruiters have increasingly resorted to overly aggressive tactics and even criminal activity to attract young troops to the battlefield, congressional investigators say.
Grueling combat conditions in Iraq, a decent commercial job market and tough monthly recruiting goals have made recruiters' jobs more difficult, the Government Accountability Office said Monday. This has probably prompted more recruiters to resort to strong-arm tactics, including harassment or criminal means such as falsifying documents, to satisfy demands, GAO states.
Military's Discharges for Being Gay Rose in '05
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 - The Defense Department discharged 726 service members last year for being gay, up about 10 percent from 2004, figures released by a gay rights group show.What's the message here? That it's more acceptable to the military to have soldiers who are potentially physically or mentally unfit to serve than to have perfectly healthy and willing gay soldiers? I know prejudice runs deep but this goes beyond simple ignorance. This is crazy.
The group, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request. A spokeswoman for the Defense Department, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, confirmed that it had released the information.
Will the Right finally join us in calling for an end to the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy? Do it for the good of the armed services, even if you care nothing for the social justice issues involved.
Let’s emphasize that again: The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the details of such surveillance programs. [this was a quote from the WSJ]In truth, the New York Times wouldn't have needed to get a hold of it. If terrorists were really curious about MI5's methods they're right on their website. Notice how they take great pains to point out that they seek warrants for every activity and even have links to the relevant sections of the British judicial code which govern their activities. Why, they seem to actually be working within the law instead of actively trying to flout it. What a concept!
Many of the same surveillance practices chastised by the Democrats were what actually stopped this plot. During the very same rally the DFL was heralding Amy Klobuchar over, John Edwards said the following.
‘I also want to live in an America where we’re not giving up liberty in the name of freedom‘
If Edwards had his way, the tools used to stop this attack would be out of the hands of those who need it.
Remember, too, that England does not have a Bill of Rights. MI5 has a much greater latitude for domestic action than US intelligence services, but-here's the important part-they don't treat that as an excuse to ignore the law. I know this is a hard concept for KvM and others on the Right to grasp, but just because you can exercise power doesn't always mean that you should.
I've largely avoided posting on these arrests both because I didn't want to make a political issue out of a law enforcement action and because it often takes weeks for the facts to come out on something like this. Were that this caution was shared.
Update: Glenn Greenwald agrees and says it better than I.
Gutknecht has always chosen to submit filing petitions when running for Congress to highlight his fiscal conservatism and has never before been challenged on the basis of when petitions were signed.
As Vox pointed out - like many fiscal conservatives, it's more inportant to look fiscal than be fiscal. When paying people $10 an hour, what are the odds that it was cheeper than paying the $300 filing fee? (Note: Vox has heard but not confirmed this rumor, so we put it in MDE landfor now)
Suprising to no one, Kiffmeyer says he's completely in the right (ha!), but others who have dealt with campaign law aren't so sure.
David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University who also teaches elections law at the University of Minnesota Law School, disagreed with Kiffmeyer's interpretation. He said he believes the section of the law in question refers to both nominating petitions and to petitions filed in lieu of a filing fee.
"I think Gutknecht's in trouble," Schultz said.
But Guy Charles, a co-dean of the law school, said Gutknecht's candidacy looks less vulnerable under a subsequent section.
"That section does not contain any restrictions on when you can gather the signatures," Charles said. "The only thing it requires is that a number of signatures be collected. It's an argument Gutknecht could make, a good-faith argument."
If petitions for Gutknecht signed before the July filing period are thrown out, Weinblatt said only 290 signatures would remain - far short of the 1,000 signatures required to file for election as a U.S. representative.
Ollie Ox has much much more on this, as well.
Speaking of Lawsuits, I guess the one against Kline worked.
Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline apologized Monday to the Marines under investigation in the killings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, last November, saying that statements he made about the case were taken out of context and that he did not mean to imply the Marines were guilty of wrongdoing.
Kline issued the apology as part of an agreement with lawyers for Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who alleged Kline had damaged Wuterich's reputation.
Some fun from Countdown:
Olbermann: "Bush administration officials now trying to claim that the Vice President was unaware the British terror arrests were imminent when on Wednesday of last week he suggested that Senator Joe Lieberman's defeat in the Connecticut primary would encourage terrorists, even though by then the President had already known for about 72 hours of the arrests. The notoriously press-shy Mr. Cheney interrupting his summer vacation to tell reporters in a conference call that voters who supported Ned Lamont's anti-war candidacy might, quote, 'embolden the al-Qaeda types who want to break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.' This from the same man who also said the insurgency in Iraq was in its last throes.
Out of the mouths of conservatives....(alternate title, "you're lips, republican's ears")
This endorsement should give pause to each and every single conservative within the borders of Minnesota. Kennedy may not be as strong of a conservative once in the Senate as he is being packaged up to be; Kennedy's actions are being dictating by things other than principles; without being guided by principles Kennedy has fallen into the goal of 'make the opponents lose'; Kennedy seems to be sticking his finger in the air to make decisions...be it to prove he can cross the aisle, etc.
Beware...for you have been forewarned. Not by me, but by his own actions and his own positions. I'm just the messenger.
11th Ave on "Don't Ask Don't Tell":
The Appleton Post-Crescent asked it's readers what they though about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). The response was overwhelmingly to abolish the flawed policy. Ten out of 13 letters supported abolishing DADT, including a number of veterans.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Special Teams-ug. Dropping the opening kickoff and then allowing a long return on the first kickoff to Oakland is not a good start. Couple that with the lack of any strong returns and it looks like this is one area that is going to require a lot of work both offensively and defensively.
Offense-Solid, but unimpressive. Chester Taylor looks decent, but not likely to light up the score board. Koren Robinson looks good. Brad Johnson looks okay, passes on target and fairly moble. I'll have to see more of this unit before making too much of a decision.
Defense-Definately the bright spot. Good pressure on the QB on pretty much every play. No long runs allowed. Tight coverage on all the receivers. Good marks all around. All of Oakland's points in the first quarter can be chalked up to special teams not defense, and as a Vikings fan that's not something I'm used to writing.
Etc.-The new uniforms look pretty sharp, I have to admit. A little busy, maybe, but they certainly look good in the usual longer shots. Not enough plays to say much about the coaching yet.
However they do this year, I'm happy it's football season once again! Go Vikes!
Couple of updates after the 2nd quarter-Should have mentioned the lack of Vikings penalties, that's always a good sign. Also, Tarvaris Jackson looks very good so far...
Yeah, you read that right. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, now has a blog. It can be found here:
The server is down right now due to heavy traffic, but this could definitely be an interesting trend. Are there any other world leaders you would like to see start a blog?
Get back to the issues
It's only August, and I'm already tired of all the politics of distortion -- I'll bet other voters are, too.
The race between Rep. John Kline and DFL candidate Coleen Rowley must apparently be a lot closer than the pundits think, or the charges and countercharges wouldn't be boiling.
This election shouldn't be about accusations of political dirty tricks. It should be about the direction America will take in Iraq, about whether every American should have the right to basic health care, about whether a senior citizen should have to decide between buying groceries or filling a prescription.
Let's all dial down the rhetoric. Voters should challenge both candidates to participate in a series of debates where they lay out their separate visions for our country. Let the best vision carry the day.
CHARLES SMITH-DEWEY, LAKEVILLE
Let's take a look at those issues Mr. Smith-Dewey mentioned.
WAR IN IRAQ:
We MUST change Bush's disastrous course! We must stop blindly following this administration and act on the advice of a growing number of non-partisan experts, including our most astute Mid-East scholars and retired military officials, who have developed consensus around a plan for orderly, phased withdrawal from Iraq and redeployment of American forces accompanied by certain steps. The following "withdrawal plus" plan outlines some general but necessary steps which, given some flexibility in implementation, now constitute our best option for stabilizing and exiting Iraq:
A Withdrawal-Plus Plan for Iraq
1. Public disavowal by President Bush of any interest in permanent American military bases or controlling Iraqi oil or other resources;
2. Graduated withdrawal of American troops, initially to more consolidated, defensive positions/locations, but ultimately from all of Iraq. Some forces should be redeployed to regional positions to respond quickly to emergency scenarios and/or terrorist developments;
3. Simultaneous initiation of an independent peace process to engage in talks with the various Iraqi groups opposed to the occupation, including insurgents and sectarian militias, to continue seeking a political settlement of their issues. This would involve enlisting the services of a peace envoy, independent of the occupation authorities and preferably under Islamic Council, Arab League and/or U.N. auspices, to engage in mediation/conciliation efforts among the three Iraqi factions. The Sunni faction, specifically, must be assured of appropriate power sharing and/or obtaining their appropriate share of the oil proceeds which are not located in the geographical territory traditionally inhabited by the Sunnis. A U.S. imposed reconstruction will not work. Iraqis must come together to form a functional government, negotiate peaceful settlements of their disputes, and ultimately determine the fate of their country;
4. Involvement of Iraq's neighbors, all of whom have strategic interests in ensuring that the violence in Iraq does not spill over into their own countries, must be sought and obtained. Neighboring countries should be asked to assist in securing Iraq's borders and to assist the efforts of an independent peace envoy in stabilizing Iraq; and
5. Humanitarian funding and assistance for peaceful reconstruction from the U.S., Great Britain and other coalition countries must be channeled primarily through Iraqi contractors where possible. Since we invaded Iraq, we have a responsibility to the country's reconstruction. Withdrawal of troops does not change that. Our continued economic assistance should, however, be put under direct control of the peace envoy and linked to further progress in the peace process.
I agree with a growing number of physicians -- the American Medical Student Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Institute of Medicine, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Physicians- American Society of Internal Medicine -- and with the American Nurses Association who say it's time for the federal government to provide for universal health care coverage. Like the late Senator Paul Wellstone, I support leaving the specifics of achieving this objective to each state.You can read more about these and many other important issues on her website.
A flexible national mandate would encourage states, like California, which is currently considering creation of a single-payer, universal health insurance system, to move forward and perhaps serve as model legislation for other states. Minnesota, which has more of its citizens covered than many states, could proceed with improvements as it sees fit. Ideally, systems could be designed to cover everyone with comprehensive necessary care, increase quality and reduce errors, lower administrative and other costs, and preserve doctor choice.
On these issues Kline says...nothing?
Kline has very little in the way of "issues" or "plans for the future" on either of his websites. See for yourself here or here. From his past record, I think it's safe to assume that Kline strongly backs the administration and their current war planning. As for health care, all we know for sure is that Kline voted in favor of Medicare Part-D.
Who has the vision and the command of the issues? I leave that up to the voters of the 2nd District to decide.
There's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.
Wow. I encourage everyone to watch the video (available here) who has any doubts about how crazy you have to be to believe this conspiracy nonsense. Anyone needing a point by point refutation is invited to go here (and another good one, albeit not related to the film, is here). Or you can watch a real-time debunking of the movie here (click on the video link on the left menu to get to the debunking)).
Since the above-linked sites have done such a good job refuting the video in its specifics, I'll just mention a couple of general problems that jumped out at me:
1. Factual Errors. I'm not a scientist of any stripe, but even I could spot a couple of major factual errors in this video. My favorite (and one that made me laugh out loud) was the claim that fire from upper floors of the WTC couldn't have come down elevator shafts to scorch lower floors because the elevator shafts were sealed "air tight". Since I don't ever recall hearing about people who suffocated while riding the elevators, I'll assume some air was allowed into the elevator shafts.
2. Intentionally Misleading Use of Quotes. The strategic use of quotes taken out of context to make them say something other than what was intended. For example, the Pennsylvania county coroner for the area around Shanksville is quoted as saying, "I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there." Which the video takes as proof that there were no passengers aboard the plane, when in fact the coroner meant simply that remains were not identifiable (his full statement can be found here).
3. Conflicting Theories. Rather than making a cogent argument, the filmmakers seemed to just throw out every half-baked theory and unexplained loose end as "proof" of...something. What they don't exactly seem to know. Was Flight 93 supposed to have been shot down by the military? Or was it supposed to have been a drone aircraft empty of passengers? Was the Pentagon hit by a cruise missile? or an old military aircraft? Or something launched from a helicopter? All are suggested as possibilities, even though the evidence for one would naturally exclude the other possibilities. Such conflicts between pieces of "evidence" are ignored.
4. The Conspiracy Itself. Finally, is that last big issue that frequently pops up for conspiracy fans. The sheer size and complexity of this conspiracy would require tens if not hundreds of thousands of willing participants. These include not only nearly every ranking employee of the federal government and the military, but also nearly every member of the involved state and local governments, air traffic controllers, scientists, the FBI & CIA, rescue workers and media outlets, not to mention all of the numerous random bystanders/witnesses, etc. (the flight that hit the Pentagon flew over a busy DC freeway and all the people on that freeway saw it...are they in on it too? Or were they all government sp00ks?) The recently busted London plane bombers had a group of 25 and they couldn't keep their plot quiet. Are we to really believe that out of these thousands upon thousands of people none has had second thoughts (or just gotten boastful) in the last five years?
In summary, then, if this video is the height of the 9/11 theorizing, I think we can safely lay those theories to rest.
Although I personally think Loose Change does a serious disservice to those who died that day I'm not going to get too angry at the people who made this video nor those who believe it. I'm willing to believe that the conspiracy theorists honestly believe they are doing the right thing and exposing "the truth". So, to them I say please take a moment to think this through. Read some of the above-linked refutations of the video's claims. You do a disservice to yourself and everybody when you naively swallow this kind of garbage. There are enough real problems in this world without having to invent new ones.
Barry's a very sharp guy who cares a lot about Northeast Minneapolis. Diane Loeffler - a nondescript DFL apparatchik who has to all appearances never had a job outside of government (let me check on that), currenty[sic] holds the seat. That needs to change.
If you live in 59A, you need to contact Barry and help out; if everyone converts a neighbor or two, this could be a great race. And if you don't? Well, visit his donations page; running a local race against a cog in the DFL machine is not just a battle against the candidate, but against the whole money machine that keeps the DFL in charge of the inner city.
Well, Mitch got her there, she sure sounds like a "cog":
Diane's career has been spent in public service. She has worked as a budget and policy analyst on education issues for the State of Minnesota, on city finance and tax issues for the City of Minneapolis and the League of Minnesota Cities, and in Human Services, Health and Training and Employment for Hennepin County. She currently works for Hennepin County in health care policy analysis on issues of services to seniors and persons with disabilities, health promotion and protection, and how to ensure more persons have access to affordable and effective health coverage.
Diane's volunteer time has been spent in making a difference in Northeast Minneapolis. There she has led efforts to save a local library, address ground and air pollution, improve housing, develop youth programs, and actively been involved in Central Avenue and riverfront redevelopment, park planning, and crime prevention. Project by project, year by year DianeÂs demonstrated her dedication to not just talking about problems, but leading efforts to address them.
I wish Barry the best of luck - this is going to be a tough neighborhood for him to get traction in. We had 95% voter turnout last election and over 80% of them cast ballots for a Democrat. Of course, he isn't giving away his party affiliation on his website, so maybe he thinks that might help him out.
I don't normally post three things by one blogger, but Spot has had an excellent weekend. Someone should buy him a kong.
At the meeting, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican and the outgoing NGA chairman, described the provision as one that "violates 200 years of American history." Governors see it as part of a broader effort by the federal government to diminish the sovereignty of the states.
Via Vox Verax, a whole lot of Republican Congresspeople break their "Contract".
Evil Bobby writes to Gil (hey, that letter's not that Evil!)
Tom gets pithy, and writes a new campaign bumpersticker.
He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
That Ben Franklin sure was a smart one.
And best post title of the day comes from my favorite ladies....
"iPods Keep Teens from Saying NO"