Thursday, September 28, 2006
I'll be Drinking Liberally with the national crowd, going to a few seminars, and meeting some of the talent behind Colorado Confidential. I believe many beers will in fact be involved in all of these stops (okay, maybe not during the seminar).
If I don't make it back, start searching the mountains....
Rather than being poorly received, it appears the protest wasn't received at all.
The door was locked. One of our group stooped down and looked in the mail slot and could see the legs of a woman who was standing off to the side. We knocked several more times, called through the closed door and the mail slot that we were constituents from Burnsville, Apple Valley and Lakeville who only wanted to drop off a letter and talk to a staff member about the issue.
The building's leasing manager came and told us it was private property and to leave. By this point it was really funny as we knew people were in there, but they were pretending they weren't there.
The blogger managed to talk to some members of the campaign staff, which is located in the same building, and had a "polite but non-productive chat," before returning upstairs for one last attempt.
So the three of us remaining decided to check the Congressional office one more time before leaving the building, and so we climbed back up the flight of stairs. The door was still locked, but this time a piece of cardboard had been taped over the mail slot from the inside.
Mark that protest as being returned to sender.
- The combined assessment of all of the American intelligence services, the National Intelligence Estimate states:
The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.
- A recently released UN Report agrees:
The report by terrorism experts working for the UN Security Council said Al Qaeda was playing a central role in the fighting in Iraq as well as inspiring a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, several hundred kilometres away.
"New explosive devices are now used in Afghanistan within a month of their first appearing in Iraq," said the report.
"And while the Taliban have not been found fighting outside Afghanistan/Pakistan, there have been reports of them training in both Iraq and Somalia."
Al Qaeda, it said, "has gained by continuing to play a central role in the fighting (in Iraq) and in encouraging the growth of sectarian violence, and Iraq has provided many recruits and an excellent training ground," it said.
- It's so good for terrorists, in fact, that Al Queda may be considering moving in permanently:
Al Qaeda has scaled down its leadership structure in Afghanistan and is poised to shift its main decision making to somewhere in the Middle East, possibly Iraq, senior Arab officials have revealed to CBS News...
- We've lost more than 2,700 soldiers (and suffered tens of thousands of wounded),
- Plus we're paying almost twice as much:
WASHINGTON -- A new congressional analysis shows the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week -- nearly twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year -- as the Pentagon spends more on establishing regional bases to support the extended deployment and scrambles to fix or replace equipment damaged in combat.
- While losing control of the conflict:
UNITED NATIONS - The number of Iraqi civilians killed in July and August hit 6,599, a record-high number that is far greater than initial estimates suggested, the United Nations said Wednesday.
The report from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq's Human Rights office highlighted the sectarian crisis gripping the country, offering a grim assessment across a range of indicators - worrying evidence of torture, unlawful detentions, growth of sectarian militias and death squads, and a rise in "honor killings" of women.
- The Iraqis don't want us there:
(CNN) -- Seventy-one percent of Iraqis responding to a new survey favor a commitment by U.S.-led forces in Iraq to withdraw in a year.
The majority of respondents to the University of Maryland poll said that "they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less," according to the survey's summary.
- And the majority of them will be glad to see us dead if we don't leave:
Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.
About 61 percent approved of the attacks [against American troops] up from 47 percent in January. A solid majority of Shiite and Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks, according to the poll. The increase came mostly among Shiite Iraqis.
This war was sold to us as "vital" to the fight against terrorism, but has been bungled in nearly every regard. An assessment with which an ever widening circle of ex-military men agree.
Remind me again why we should trust Republicans to fight terrorism?
The GOP's decision, expected to be ratified in January by the party's national committee, drew an angry response from some Democrats, who expected their national convention to be in the Twin Cities.
Rick Stafford, a member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee from Minneapolis, said negotiations set for next week "would have pretty much cemented the deal." He said the GOP's decision showed that Republicans "cannot keep their honor in the site-selection process." He said as the non-incumbent party, the Democrats should have chosen their site first in keeping with tradition.
"It just follows their whole scorched-earth ... philosophy that's running true to form this year," said Stafford, adding that "all the signals" indicated that Republicans were going to allow Democrats to choose their site first. He speculated that word got out that Democrats wanted the Twin Cities and that local Republicans pressured the RNC to act quickly if it wanted to nail down the Twin Cities as its site.
"I'm kind of angry about it," Stafford said. "I mean, all is fair in love and war and politics, but I think it sets a tone: Are we going to go through this every four years now, this kind of game?"
Republicans rejected Stafford's arguments, noting that they picked first when they took their convention to New York in 2004.
"Quite frankly, that's nonsense," Davidson said. "I have no idea what tradition they're discussing."
They're like the brother that licks your cookie so you can't eat it and have to give it to him.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
...[F]rom the first post through the middle of 2005, Minnesota Democrats Exposed was operated with a now-clear, then-undisclosed conflict of interest. Michael Brodkorb was a high-level staffer in the Republican Party of Minnesota from March 2002 until June 2005. For nearly a full year, Minnesota Democrats Exposed was operated with no disclosure of its author's high-level position within the Republican Party of Minnesota. For nearly a full year, Minnesota Democrats Exposed was operated with no disclosure of its author's severe conflict of interest. And that conflict was never known until, one and a half years later, Brodkorb was forced to reveal himself following a lawsuit.
Minnesota Democrats Exposed was founded on conflict of interest and non-disclosure. Considering that history, it's not surprising to see that new questions are now surfacing regarding those very same issues.
A google cache from May 19th show viewers that it was orignally to be a prominent part of the MDE website, listed directly under his contact link.
As of August 16th, after Brodkorb had received payment for his research, the link was still displayed on his site.
Although this page did not develop into an attack site, it does raise questions about what Brodkorb intended to do with his research paid for by the Bachmann campaign.
Did Michael Brodkorb ever intend to use his paid work for Bachmann to fill out his Patty Wetterling Exposed page? Did the Bachmann campaign ever expect or ask Brodkorb to activate his Patty Wetterling Exposed page as part of his work? At what point did Brodkorb decide to abandon the Patty Wetterling Exposed project? And finally, why did Brodkorb decide to abandon this project?
Some guys from the DFL chipped in to buy a pitcher at Drinking Liberally a couple of months ago. I had a glass of beer out of that pitcher.
I hereby disclose my glass of DFL beer. (I believe it was Summit EPA.)
Oh, and Robert Fitzgerald gave me a t-shirt. Curse you, Fitzgerald! Corrupting my ethics with your 100% cotton of evil.
Seriously, though, I have never taken any compensation for any work on this site. I have never worked with, for, or on behalf of any campaign. REW's disclosure statement is on the right sidebar (and has been for months). Thank you.
REW also received a shirt from Mr. Fitzgerald. I haven't seen her disclose that anywhere. WHAT IS SHE TRYING TO HIDE????
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Electioneering is an expensive game of self-promotion played over the airwaves, in print, and now on the Internet. A majority of voters will never meet the person who will be representing them, and instead they must rely on the images filtered through the media. Credibility is one of the most important assets a media member has.
No one knows that better than long time Republican Party operative Michael Brodkorb, senatorial candidate Mark Kennedy's press consultant.
With a background in opposition research gained in his years as Research Director of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Brodkorb has been able to parlay his skills and contacts into a consulting job that has been referred to in the Pioneer Press as "part-time researcher,"and in other venues as a simple part-time consultant. According to FEC reports, the Kennedy campaign considers him a "Press Consultant." With no clear definition available of what his position as researcher/consultant/press aide is, it seems easier to examine what it is not.
According to Brodkorb himself, it is not a position that involves his personal blog Minnesota Democrats Exposed. In his announcement about accepting the position with the campaign, he stated, "I am not now, nor have I ever been paid to blog." He wrote that it is his responsibility to ensure that running his site did not conflict with his consulting position, and vise versa.
The ultimate responsibility lies with each individual blogger to ensure they operate their blog without an inherent conflict of interest. As I am a Republican operative who exposes Minnesota Democrats, I am continually aware of my responsibility to disclose any conflict that could tarnish the effectiveness of my blog.
The over-all content of Minnesota Democrats Exposed will not change, but to ensure transparency you may notice a small drop in my coverage of the U.S. Senate race.
Instead, his coverage of the Senate race almost doubled, with nearly 70 posts in the three months since Brodkorb joined the campaign, in comparison to fewer than 40 posts on the race in the preceding three months, a period that included both the Republican and DFL endorsement conventions.
This escalation of coverage favorable to the Kennedy campaign is doubly surprising, given that Brodkorb once stated there would be no campaign that would ever be able to hire him and allow him to blog.
"I couldn't blog on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and work on a campaign. No campaign manager or candidate would allow me to continuing blogging on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and work on their campaign at the same time."
Yet as his work on his personal blog continued and the focus on the Senate race increased, Brodkorb now maintains that it is not a part of his part-time consultancy. "This is a reminder that I am a part-time consultant to Mark Kennedy's U.S. Senate campaign. Minnesota Democrats Exposed is not created, endorsed, sponsored, or authorized by any political party, candidate, or candidate's committee. It's all me and always will be and I am very proud of Minnesota Democrats Exposed," states his disclaimer, which he puts on a majority of his Senate posts.
However, despite this disclaimer, it has become apparent that material on his blog has been provided by the Kennedy campaign. One example of this close coordination between the campaign and the blog involves a dustup concerning Patrick Timmons, a writer for MNGOPWatch.com and DFLSenate.com (not affiliated with either political parties) just last week.
Patrick Timmons, the blogger behind Minnesota Republican Watch and a contributor to DFL Senate, contacted the website vendor of Mark Kennedy's campaign twice in the last 24 hours and requested information on any updated security features of Kennedy's campaign website.
Mr. Timmons never identified himself as the blogger behind Minnesota Republican Watch or as a contributor to DFL Senate.
Brodkorb put on the "independent blogger" hat to create the post, but in case there was any doubt that the information had been given to Brodkorb in order for him to write the piece, Brodkorb confirms it himself. "Mr. Timmons: I'll be posting the transcript of your voice-mail left at Kennedy's office later this evening."
Brodkorb then appeared to be fulfilling his job as press consultant, stating less than three hours after publishing the story that he is shopping the piece to the media.
I have spoken with a few members of the media about Patrick Timmons, the blogger behind Minnesota Republican Watch and a contributor to DFL Senate, contacting the website vendor of Mark Kennedy's campaign twice in the last 24 hours and requested information on any updated security features of Kennedy's campaign website.
Exactly how much does a "part-time press consultant" cost? According to FEC reports, $4500 per month, although a call to Brodkorb confirmed that his pay is actually $4583 monthly. On even a full-time schedule, this would come to more than $25 per hour. This amount is higher than all but four Kennedy campaign members, including, incidentally, Mark Kennedy's own (presumably full-time) campaign press secretary. This is also more than the monthly pay for all but three of DFL senate candidate Amy Klobuchar's staff.
When a journalist publishes a story, they do so under a newspaper, magazine, or foundation's mast. Everyone knows who is paying the journalist for that story, and most journalists are bound by a code of ethics. While analysts and commentators are free to embellish or take sides, journalists are expected to filter out or identify source bias in their accounts. Any reporter covering a "Michael Brodkorb story" should feel obliged to reveal to their audience that Brodkorb is a paid functionary on the Mark Kennedy U.S. Senate campaign.
Monday, September 25, 2006
While I was incommunicado/unconscious there were a couple of interesting polls released, John Kline's staffer had his very own George Allen moment, and I think something happened with some bloggers getting in trouble for their "1337 5killz" or something.
Jeez, I can't leave you kids alone for even a couple of days, can I?
Anyway, I'm back and starting to feel better. So, hello, internets. Powerliberal should be back to normal posting any moment now.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
However, Ms. Parry has one important fallacy in her argument; there are no undecided partisans.
She is wrong about that, and I should know.
I am one.
As a political blogger since 2004, it could be very easily assumed that I am both partisan and an easy vote for the DFL. Although I may come across as partisan, I can tell you my votes are in no way easy.
With six weeks left until the election, I find myself still undecided in two of my races. Especially difficult for me is the Governor's race, where I can honestly see a good reason to vote for each the the three leading candidates, as well as a good reason not to do so.
I don't know when I will make my final decision. Much like primary day, I may find myself standing at the booth, still trying to make up my mind.
In some ways, as a partisan undecided, the situation is even more difficult. Parry suggests that for the undecideds, more talk of issues, more live debate coverage and other opportunities for voters to get facts without any commentary is needed. For myself, I like to think I have many of the facts, and I watch as much live coverage as I can find. What more is there to do?
I don't have a solution to winning over a partisan undecided. Six weeks seems far to early to make a decision that will impact the next two to four years. And I see no point in rushing my decision at this point.
Luckily, there's no time limit when you're standing in the booth.
Friday, September 22, 2006
"Ron Carey talking about ethics is like Hannibal Lechter talking about table mannners. You're pretty, but you're still a cannibal."
I should give him cold medicine more often...
Members of the Minnesota media are getting an education today on the tactics of liberal bloggers in Minnesota. Mark Kennedy's campaign takes precautionary measures to protect campaign information and liberal bloggers have the nerve to complain.
Michael's always been known for his class....
THE GOOD NEWS about the agreement reached yesterday between the Bush administration and Republican senators on the detention, interrogation and trial of accused terrorists is that Congress will not -- as President Bush had demanded -- pass legislation that formally reinterprets U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Nor will the Senate explicitly endorse the administration's use of interrogation techniques that most of the world regards as cruel and inhumane, if not as outright torture. Trials of accused terrorists will be fairer than the commission system outlawed in June by the Supreme Court.
The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes.
In short, it's hard to credit the statement by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday that "there's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved." In effect, the agreement means that U.S. violations of international human rights law can continue as long as Mr. Bush is president, with Congress's tacit assent. If they do, America's standing in the world will continue to suffer, as will the fight against terrorism.
For now, the administration says it is not holding anyone in secret CIA facilities. The detention of those being held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay clearly conforms with international law. If suspects are routed into the CIA program in the future, the administration has pledged to consult with Congress about the interrogation techniques that will be permitted. In theory, Congress could override Mr. Bush's regulations governing treatment if it judges that they are being used to authorize unacceptable practices.
But the senators who have fought to rein in the administration's excesses -- led by Sens. McCain, Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) -- failed to break Mr. Bush's commitment to "alternative" methods that virtually every senior officer of the U.S. military regards as unreliable, counterproductive and dangerous for Americans who may be captured by hostile governments.
Mr. Bush wanted Congress to formally approve these practices and to declare them consistent with the Geneva Conventions. It will not. But it will not stop him either, if the legislation is passed in the form agreed on yesterday. Mr. Bush will go down in history for his embrace of torture and bear responsibility for the enormous damage that has caused.
Monday, September 18, 2006
...The Kennedy campaign's internal polling numbers show that this is an 8-10 point race (see attached memo). That is fully consistent with 4; count 'em 4, independent surveys. It should be further noted that, since the Kennedy campaign's poll was taken, the London bomb plot was thwarted and gas prices have dropped almost 75 cents. Finally, when voters actually understand the differences between the candidates on the issues, Kennedy wins, just as he has in every tough race in the past.
Check out the rest of the meltdown press release here.
Do I belive that Klobuchar really has a 24 point lead? To be fair, I really dislike Kennedy, so I wouldn'tbe shocked if other people did, too.
But what's really disturbing is that Kennedy's campaign has her with a 10 point lead. The crankies out there like to cry foul and bias whenever an internal poll is done, stating that there is no such thing as an accurate poll run on behalf of a politician. So a poll run internally with Klobuchar up 10 points.....
The Terrance Group also believes that Kennedy was down 10 points a month ago, if you would like to believe them, too. After all, the polling group of Ramstadt and Gutknect can't be wrong...
Point being, people don't currently like Kennedy. Even his own fluffers had him down by 10 a month ago.
Wait, a month ago. Didn't something happen a month ago?
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.
Bottom's out, Kennedy.
UPDATED TO ADD: this link to the Tarrance Group's client list.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I remember that...
Anyone remember this fun thread?
Q: What role did you play in organizing or planning the September 2004 protest against the Minnesota Poll?
A: Nothing other than announcing the the protest and providing information.
How many people write for this blog?
A: Just me. But I will joined by another blogger in the next week.
Q: In September, that Star Tribune identified Chris Tiedeman as the organizer of the protest against the Minnesota Poll. Are you Chris Tiedeman?
A: I am not Chris Tiedeman, but I did play him on TV.
Q: Why do you continue to remain anonymous even as you attempt to increase the exposure of your blog and thrust yourself into the political spotlight?
A: Because it is my right. This is my blog and I will run it the way I want.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Now, I'm probably biased, but wow, that's a bad commercial. She accepted money from
Matt reminds everyone of the Kennedy attacks on Wetterling here and at Publius. So, obviously we're just running the 2004 campaign again. Is is going to work?
My guess is no, since Kennedy seems to be getting more challenge from his ad than kudos...
The funding the Kennedy campaign objects to is from Emily's List, a group that supports Democratic female candidates by bundling thousands of contributions from donors across the country. Emily's List is one of the nation's largest grass-roots campaign networks and is a fairly traditional source of funding for female candidates across the country.
The Klobuchar investments the ad mentions are her holdings in mutual funds. She previously has said she picked among her employers' mutual fund offerings on the basis of risk and other factors and does not track which stocks make up the multitude of her funds.
When Kennedy brought up the investments in a debate earlier this month, Klobuchar said, "You are running an ad saying you want to go after the oil companies, when, in fact, you have taken more than $55,000 from oil company PACs for your campaigns over the years."
If I were Shortbridge, I'd probably be saying "oops" right about now.
Edited because I listened to the ad again. And then threw up in my mouth a little.
Friday, September 15, 2006
But last night wasa great DL with some post-primary rehash and a little talk of draft dodging. We also got to meet Bill, who I need to remember to add to Drinking Buddies later.
Next week we are going to have a post primary visit from primary winner Keith Ellison, so be sure to stop in. Also, in case you missed it on the 10 o'clock news, Abdi Aynte was on discussing Ellison's outreach to the Somali community (yes, there is a clip).
In other news, marriage is between a man and a woman. That means drag queens, too. I'm trying to get some more vital info regarding the proposal from Ms. Wisdom, so I hope to have that later.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
The numbers (now updated since Joe posted them) are courtesy of Dump John Kline.
Here are those numbers:
# Rowley 42%
# Kline 45 %
# Undecided 13%
Yes, these numbers only reflect SD 38 (Eagan) (although since when are the suburbs Democratic strongholds?). Yes, this was a DCC commissioned poll, etc.
Whatever your take on the poll itself, it has apparently hit close enough to home to cause consternation among Kline fans. Someone with the handle "Mike" is going around leaving comments on the blog of everyone who mentions this poll with the Kline camp's spin on these numbers.
Okay, Mike, Kline and anyone else from the MNGOP who might be reading this, if these numbers are so far off, prove us wrong. Release your internal polling. We'll all have a good laugh and go our separate ways. If you're not willing to produce hard numbers to back up your spin, we'll assume the quoted numbers are more or less correct.
Don't try to tell me Kline hasn't done any polling. His FEC reports show a huge amount spent on polling (odd behavior for a completely safe incumbent). In fact, in this cycle Kline has given $47,000 to one company, Public Opinion Strategies, to do polling, so either he has numbers or he's even worse at managing money than the budget deficit indicates. So how about it?
Update: To provide a little context which shows just how out of the ordinary Kline's polling expenditures are in this cycle, here are the polling expenditures of his two fellow MN Republican house incumbents:
In CD 3: Jim Ramstad's only polling-related expense is $12,540 spent on a "survey" by The Tarrance Group.
In CD 1: Gil Gutknecht has spent $20,486 with the same Tarrance Group for polling.
So Kline has spent more than double what his peers have on polling. Does that sound like someone who's cruising to victory?
From today's Strib:
Fresh troops fail to slow bloodshed in Baghdad
In the past 24 hours, nearly 100 Iraqis have been killed, despite an extra 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops in the capital....and
The apparent resurgence in execution-style murders, which are often associated with sectarian violence and death squads, came as U.S. and Iraqi patrols have been sweeping Baghdad neighborhoods in search of insurgents, militia and criminal gangs.
Since the operation began on Aug. 7, U.S. officials cited figures showing that such killings in Baghdad declined by more than 50 percent in August, compared with July.
U.S. officials wouldn't provide specific numbers, however, and have said that their comparison doesn't include victims of car bombings, mortar attacks and other so-called mass-casualty violence.
Statistics released by the Baghdad morgue suggest that the decline in violence from July to August was around 18 percent, with 1,529 violent deaths in August and 1,855 in July.
Is Afghanistan slipping away?
The fighting is a startling reversal from the days after the Taliban was ousted.So, is this what victory looks like? Because I always thought it had more flowers and parades and less, you know, explosions.
Almost five years after a U.S.-led coalition attacked Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks, experts warn that the country is slipping away.
The hard-line Islamic Taliban militia is back, controlling half the country by some estimates. Fighting in the south is some of the fiercest that Western troops have faced in 50 years.
On Wednesday, NATO announced that suicide bombings have killed 173 people -- including 151 civilians -- in the country so far this year. The remaining victims include NATO and U.S.-led coalition forces and Afghan authorities.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
For example, here's the SD 13 results page with 100% precincts reporting, according to the SOS there were a total of 11,226 votes cast there yesterday. If you add up the totals of the two legislative districts (13A & 13B) you also get a total of 11,226 votes. However, if you add up the total number of votes cast for State Senate in SD 13 you get 11,940, which means 740 more votes were counted (almost 7%) for State Senate in SD 13 than the total number cast. There are a couple of other areas where the total number of votes doesn't match up to the votes actually counted.
I assume this the result of mathematical errors (albeit a widespread string of errors), but until that is rectified I can't really write my post.
Which is fine, after last night I could use a few more hours of not staring at tiny tables of numbers.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Minnesota Monitor is a site unlike any other in this area. It's the "missing link" between the immediacy and voice of an A-list slate of bloggers combined with the discipline and research of journalism.
They've only been around for about a month and they already have a pretty impressive track record. I have no doubt that as the disparate elements of the site come together, as the blogger and the journalist get comfortable in the same skin, they will become a premiere online destination for news in the state.
Today will be an excellent trial run of their approach.
They have writers from the site at the headquarters of nearly every campaign facing a primary challenge today. From those writers will come a constantly updated stream of coverage (all available on the same page) giving you the ability to be on the scene of not one, but all campaigns simultaneously. In addition to that "color coverage" they will be providing up to the moment "play by play" of the official numbers coming out of the Secretary of State's office.
So, go check out Minnesota Monitor today to see where the future of media may lie.
Or, if all that future talk seems a little pie in the sky, go check out Minnesota Monitor today for the best and most complete election coverage you're going to find anywhere on or off line.
(In the spirit of the season: This message was neither approved nor endorsed by the Minnesota Monitor team.)
Smartie and I showed up bright and early at the polling place, and were the 9th and 10th people to add in their ballots. The parking lot was surpisingly full for 7 a.m., and it looks like there isthe potential for good turnout today.
My favorite sign was the one on the front door reminding people that although all three parties are on the ballot, you can only vote for one party. How many spoiled ballots are found could make for an interesting story.
For primary coverage throughout the day, be sure to check out MinMon.
Edited to add: we had an issue with the server that is resolved just in time for new Ember and Ellison liveblogs to go up.
Note from Ellison blog - are Erlandson staffers replacing Ellison's literature?
The defense, especially the run defense, looked shaky last night. I was surprised by that, considering how well they played in the preseason. They started to tighten up after half time, however, so maybe they were just working out some kinks. The D-line never seemed to be getting good pressure on the QB. After all the high draft picks we've spent on linemen in the last few years (James, Williams & Udeze) I'm hoping to see a little more production up front later in the season.
The offense looked good. Loved the continued commitment to the run even when it was bogged down in one and two yard carries for much of the game. It's been a while since we've had a workhorse every down RB on this team.
Of course it's easy to stay committed to the run when your passing game can bail you out repeatedly on third down. I was hard on Vikings management at the end of last year over their decision to trade Culpepper. Maybe I'll have to eat my words. Johnson looked good under pressure, getting rid of the ball to avoid sacks and unafraid to repeatedly throw deep. Speaking of which...
Williamson has speed, but is he the only one? It didn't seem like they sent any other receivers deep on the longer routes (what I still think of as "Moss Routes", so sue me). Don't get me wrong, Williamson has some moves, but he doesn't seem to be developing into a very reliable receiver. Or maybe it was just a bad night. Nerves or something. It's early in the season and he'll have plenty of opportunities to make everyone forget this game.
Kicking game looked good, especially for the Vikings outdoors and on grass. Picking up Longwell (who's used to kicking on the Frozen Tundra, after all) may have been one of the best moves of this offseason.
All in all, a very exciting game and a great start to the season. Wherever we end up this year, it looks like it's going to be fun to watch!
Monday, September 11, 2006
On my way home from work tonight, as I drove down 394, I noticed that there were people standing on a freeway overpass near Ridgedale holding a sign. The sign was black and white and said "Remember 9/11. Listen to AM 1280". Thinking The Patriot was doing some kind of tribute I tuned in.
Nothing doing. It was just their regular programing. The first thing I heard was Michael Medved talking to Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer/producer of The Path to 9/11. I didn't hear the question, only Medved saying "the outcry over your movie goes to show that the Left in this country is opposed to free speech." I listened for another twenty minutes and it never got better from there. Nice job, Patriot. Trivializing our shared horror of the events of that day to increase your market share? You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Also, note to Mr. Medved, using "Learning to Fly" as your bumper music today may have been in poor taste.
Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage is one of the many socially conservative groups that have set their sights on unseating Johnson by supporting Cruze as a primary challenger. In a mailing posted by the Marriage group, they even go as far as to ask their Republican supporters to cross over for the primary:
Your party affiliation does not matter! You receive a ballot with all candidates from all parties (you just can't vote for candidates from more than one party on your ballot). Because voter turnout is typically low in a primary, you can make a real difference by simply showing-up and casting your vote. Please, for the sake of our kids, vote for Michael Cruze on September 12th.
In Willmar itself, a few anti-Johnson signs are up. Nearby one is a sign not for DFL challenger Cruze, or even the Republican endorsed challenger Joe Gisme, but instead 13B Republican candidate Bonnie Wilhelm.
In fact, one DFLer in Willmar reports that the signage for Cruze himself is noticeably lacking, with only one small placard spotted in the window of a local restaurant.
The Johnson supporter notes that "the talk in coffee houses and cafes has tended to shift toward the unfairness of the attacks on Johnson."
Will the Republican cross-over strategy work to unseat Johnson, or will the the backlash from outside advocacy groups help keep Johnson safe through the primary? We will know tomorrow night.
Full schedule here.
He was ending Monday with a 9 p.m. EDT address from the Oval Office.
Well, that makes a bit of an interuption in the end of the first game of the season. I wonder how our opponents the Washington Redskins feel about it.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
15. Minnesota: We hear that Pawlenty's numbers have cratered of late. Democrats will pick their nominee on Tuesday, with state Attorney General Mike Hatch the strong frontrunner. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed Hatch ahead of Pawlenty by one point among those most likely to vote. Pawlenty's slippage, coupled with Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar's (D) comfortable lead in the Senate race, makes us think something is happening at the grassroots level in Minnesota. (Previous ranking: N/A)
Remembering to put out this link for Tom's new site so Robert Fitzgerald can see it. (He's the candidate you want to have an orange juice with...)
Some attention being paid to the lesser known voices of the 5th.
(Yes, later I will be doing things that make me unhappy. Consider it the yin for your yang)
Today's post deals with State Senate races. Check back on Monday for a second post dealing with the hot State House races.
Recent media reporting of the pre-primary campaign-finance reports for legislative candidates focus on two sources: political parties and individual caucuses. Yet these numbers, while easy to find, are irrelevant indicators of underlying candidate support because they are dominately made up of political-action committees, large contributions from single individuals (like the $55,000 Target Corporation CEO Robert Ulrich gave to the Republican Party), and party activists who contribute because of ideological similarities to the parties and caucuses.
To gleen any indication of candidate support - and to make any half-credible prediction of candidate success - from fundraising, one must dig deeper into the numbers. But before I go further, it is important to note that using fundraising numbers to predict candidate strength and ultimate victory is itself flawed. To paraphrase what I heard one politican say, fundraising numbers can be impressive, but the candidate who works hardest usually wins. Money is only one factor, and for purposes of what follows, I intentionally focus only on it. I leave it to readers in the field to argue how the nonmonetary efforts of candidates might bear fruit on November 7th.
I believe the most relevant campaign-finance numbers result from individual contributions to candidates. By and large, these donations reflect the candidate's impact on and support from individual voters. Therefore, rather than simply reporting the party and caucus numbers, the media should have focused first on the aggregate individual giving to candidates.
I'll address the Senate first. 70 DFL and 67 GOP Senate candidates, including primary contests, filed pre-primary reports. (I excluded one DFL and one GOP candidate running in primaries who have raised no money.) Their fundraising numbers, as totalled by party:
1. DFL candidates have raised $765,000 from individual contributions; GOP candidates have raised $576,000, a difference of almost $200,000.
2. DFL candidates have raised a total of $1,214,000; GOP candidates have raised $810,000, or $400,000 less.
3. DFL candidates have spent $695,000; GOP candidates $559,000.
4. DFL candidates have $1,097,000 left in the bank; GOP candidates have $657,000, or $450,000 less.
DFLers should feel good about the fundraising numbers in the following races:
- In SD 4 (Bemidji) - a seat the DFL feels it can win - Mary Olson has raised $19,000 from individuals, $7,000 more than Sen. Carrie Ruud. In total contributions, Olson has raised $1,000 more than Ruud and outspent her by $2,300. (Ruud retains a $4,000 advantage in cash-on-hand.)
- In SD 8 (Hinckley), DFLer Tony Lourey has amassed an incredible $35,000, 80% of which is from individuals. Assuming Lourey survives Tuesday's primary (his opponent has raised about $4,000), he will have $23,000 left to take on former senator Dan Stevens (R), who has raised a respectable $18,000 (all from individuals) but only has $9,000 left.
- In SD 10 (Fergus Falls) - a race on no one's radar - Dan Skogen (D) has raised $16,000 from individuals, $4,000 more than long-time incumbent Sen. Cal Larson, and he has almost matched Larson in overall fundraising. Larson has $10,000 more than Skogen in the bank, but Skogen is still sitting on $13,000.
- SD 12 (Brainerd) is interesting. DFLer Terry Sluss has raised $16,000 ($12,000 from individuals) and has spent almost all of it. But he awaits the winner of the harsh GOP primary between Sen. Paul Koering and Kevin Goedker. Koering has outraised Goedker by $10,000, and each of them has spent almost all of their funds (and will likely spend the remainder prior to Tuesday). Interestingly, the SD 51 Committee, which was hopeful that its candidate could defeat Sen. Don Betzhold, has given Goedker $5,000.
- In St. Cloud, Republicans are hoping to defeat Sen. Tarryl Clark. But Clark has raised over $30,000, including $23,000 from individuals, and is sitting on a $19,000 war chest. The GOP's candidate, Jeff Johnson, has raised a third of Clark's amount and less than $5,000 from individuals.
- In the open seat in Mankato, Kathy Sheran (D) has raised $41,000, with $35,000 coming from individuals, and has $36,000 left. Her opponent, former senator Mark Piepho (R), has raised $29,000 ($25,000 from individuals) but has $20,000 less in the bank. (Piepho faces a primary challenge, but his GOP opponent reported raising no money.)
- In SD 27 (Austin), Sen. Dan Sparks was originally thought to be vulnerable, given his narrow victory in 2002. But he has raised $28,000, with more than half of that from individual contributors, and still has $14,000 in the bank. George Marin (R) has raised less than $7,000 total.
- In SD 38 (Eagan), Jim Carlson raised $1,000 more than Sen. Mike McGinn in individual contributions. McGinn has raised $5,000 more overall and has $4,000 more in the bank.
- In SD 42 (Eden Prairie), where Sen. David Hann (R) won with less than 50% in 2002, Carol Bomben (D) has raised $11,000 from individuals and $15,000 overall. Hann has raised only $9,000, with just over half from individuals. Both candidates have about $10,000 left (Hann has a slight advantage).
- In the SD 43 (Minnetonka/Plymouth) rematch, Sen. Terri Bonoff has raised $34,000, almost $20,000 more than Judy Johnson (R). $25,000 of Bonoff's money has come from individual contributors. Bonoff holds a two-to-one advantage in cash-on-hand.
- In the conservative SD 52 (Forest Lake/Stillwater), DFLer David Francis has raised $5,000 more than Rep. Ray Vandeveer, including $8,000 more than Vandeveer from individuals. Francis has done this despite the tragic disapperance of his son and Vandeveer's superior name recognition.
- In SD 53 (Shoreview), Sandy Rummel (D) is neck-and-neck with Sen. Mady Reiter. Reiter has raised $2,000 more from individuals contributors ($16,000 v. $14,000), but Rummel has raised $2,000 more overall. Reiter has $25,000 left compared to Rummel's $18,000.
- In Woodbury (SD 56) - a race that several insiders believe could be an upset - DFLer Kathy Saltzman has matched Sen. Brian LeClair (R) in total contributions, but has raised $4,000 more from individuals. LeClair has spent twice as much as Saltzman. Both candidates have around $30,000 left in the bank.
- In the open seat in SD 57 (Cottage Grove), Rep. Katie Seiben (D) has proven to be a fundraising machine, bringing in $45,000 total and $32,000 from individuals. Her opponent, Republican Ron Kath, has only raised $8,000. Seiben has over $32,000 left; Kath has $1,274 remaining.
Even in some districts where they typically stand no chance, DFLers have performed well. Glenn Resman has outraised Sen. Betsy Wergin and almost matched her in individual contributions in SD 16 (Princeton). Hal Kimball has outraised Sen. Steve Dille in both individual and total contributions in Hutchinson (SD 18). David Wertjes has done the same to Sen. Julie Rosen in SD 24. Jon Olson has matched Sen. Warren Limmer in Maple Grove (SD 32). And Mike Starr has narrowly edged Sen. Michael Jungbauer in SD 49 (Elk River).
Of course, some Republicans have fared well, too:
- In SD 11 (Detroit Lakes), Bill Ingebrigtsen (R) has raised twice as much in individual contributions as Sen. Dallas Sams and narrowly edged him in overall fundraising. Sams, however, retains a significant ($26,000) edge in cash-on-hand.
- In SD 13 (Willmar), Joe Gimse has raised slightly more money (about $1,500) from individuals than Sen. Dean Johnson, and only $13 seperates them in overall fundraising, but Johnson has $14,000 more in the bank. This, of course, only matters if Johnson can prevail in his primary contest. Tom Scheck at Polinaut reports that DFL insiders are worried that Johnson might not make it past Tuesday.
- In SD 25 (Northfield), Sen. Tom Neuville has significantly outraised Jess Peterson by a 4:1 margin in individual contributions. He has $22,000 in the bank.
- Steve Wilson has raised twice as much from individuals as Sen. Steve Murphy in Red Wing (SD 28) and has outraised him by $2,500. But Wilson faces a tough primary challenge from Steve Drazkowski, and Murphy has $15,000 for the general election. (Wilson has $3,000 remaining, and Draz has about $6,000.)
- In what may be their best shot at knocking off an incumbent DFLers, Scott Schulte has raised $12,000 from individuals and $17,000 overall, while Sen. Leo Foley (D-Coon Rapids) has raised $5,000 and $14,000, respectively. Foley, however, has $22,000 more on hand than Schulte.
- In other metro races, Pam Wolf (SD 51) and Dan Williams (SD 54) have narrowly edged Sens. Don Betzhold and John Marty in overall contributions, although the senators have raised more from individuals and have significant more on hand.
Finally, in what is becoming the big two open-seat races in terms of competitiveness and money:
- In Rochester (SD 30), Scott Wright (R) has raised $45,000 from individuals and $47,000 overall, and he has $16,000 in the bank. Ann Lynch (D) has raised a very respectable $35,000, with $28,000 coming from individuals, and still has $20,000. But Wright has outspent Lynch by $22,000. And Wright has not accepted the public subsidy, meaning he can raise and spend as much money as possible.
- In another open seat (SD 31-Winona), Republican Brenda Johnson has raised $31,000 ($26,000 from individual contributions) and has $13,000 left over. Independent candidate Kevin Kelleher ha raised $25,000 - almost all from individuals - and has $21,000 in the bank. DFLer Sharon Ropes trails in this race, having raised a total of $11,000 ($9,000 from individuals) and has $9,000 left.
Of course, the most publicized race was effectively placed in the GOP-win column today when DFLer Andrew Borene withdrew from the race. Prior to that, Borene had raised $41,000 ($26,000 from individuals), spent $19,000, and still had $34,000 left. Sen. Geoff Michel, the incumbent in SD 41 (Edina), has raised $46,000 this year, including $41,000 from individuals, and spent $28,000. Michel has an incredible $69,000 left over but no opponent.
Lastly, with the exception of Scott Wright in Rochester, all of these candidates have accepted the public subsidy and, therefore, the spending restriction. (Ann Lynch, Wright's opponent, still receives the public subsidy of about $12,000 but is not restricted in spending.) Incumbents and repeat candidates can spend $59,900. First-time candidates can spend $65,900. Candidates who face a contested primary, like Sen. Dean Johnson, can spend $71,880. First-time candidates in contested primaries, like Tony Lourey, can spend $79,080.
So, what to make of all this? Overall, the financial numbers look better for DFL Senate candidates than Republicans. And the logistics of the individual races still make a DFL majority very safe. 27 DFL incumbents appear safe (excluding Sams, Dean Johnson, and Foley), and the party appears poised to retain the open seats in SDs 8 (Lourey), 44 (Ron Latz), 57 (Seiben), 62 (whoever wins the DFL primary), and SD 63 (Dan Larson). That gives DFLers 32 seats, two short of a majority. 22 Republican incumbents appear safe (excluding Ruud, Koering, McGinn, Hann, Reiter, and LeClair). And I think the GOP will retain the open seat in SD 52 (Michele Bachmann) despite David Francis's fundraising; the district is just too conservative. That gives Republicans 23 seats.
Thus, left over and too difficult to tell are 12 seats: SDs 4, 11, 12, 13, 23, 30, 31, 38, 42, 47, 53, and 56. Republicans would need to win 11 of these 12 seats (if they did not pull a surprise upset elsewhere) to capture the Senate. Realistically, I see the GOP winning 7: most likely 12 (should Koering survive), 30 (given Wright's money and overall GOP tilt), 42 (the district leans GOP), 47 (which DFLers are worried about), and 4, 53, and 56 (Reiter, Ruud, and LeClair are experienced campaigners, and Ruud and LeClair had comfortable wins in 2002). The GOP would actually pick up a seat. And if Ingebrigtsen beats Sams, Brenda Johnson retains the open seat in Winona, McGinn wins reelection, and Dean Johnson loses in the primary - all possible occurences - the GOP could find itself in a one-seat majority.
But those are a lot of ifs - 11 to be exact. The first two ifs come due on Tuesday, when we learn whether Koering and Dean Johnson survive. Stay tuned.
Next: Campaign-finance numbers in the House races.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
His only quibble? Klobuchar actually understated how much money Mark Kennedy has taken from oil & gas PACs. (She said $55,000, it's actually $70,000.)
So now you know: Kennedy is even more in the pocket of oil companies than even the DFL thought.
Remember when the MN Poll came out showing Kennedy down by around 20 points? His campaign did every song and dance they could to put a happy face on that data. Bachmann's numbers must really stink for the NRCC to frankly admit that she's losing the race.
GOP leader says she is worried about Bachmann's chances
BY RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
The executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tuesday told supporters she is very worried about her candidates' fate this year.
The e-mail featured photographs of four Republican congressional candidates "in serious danger of losing," including a photo of state Sen. Michele Bachmann, who is running for Congress from Minnesota's north and west suburban district. Her opponent in the 6th District is Democrat Patty Wetterling. [my bold]
Michele Bachmann-Too extreme for the 6th or any other district.
Fortunately, 6th CD voters have a nice, sensible, reasonable candidate in this race in Patty Wetterling.
I tip my hat to DFLer's.org who caught the story first.
Finally, because I can't resist, a little fun with selective quoting:
"The Democrats have surpassed us in countless ways," Vastola wrote.
And how, sister.
Redistribution Of WealthYou might not like the idea of taking a little money from billionaires and using it to help society's most vulnerable, that's your prerogative, but you're on awfully thin ice criticizing her budgetary policies.
The left loves to make Republicans explain how they are going to 'pay for' letting American tax payers keep their own money. The left often prefers tax credits or deductions, as that way the money is still coming in to the government, and they (government) can decide who gets to have more. Amy Klobuchar prefers the second way. (Strib)Families of seniors would get a $1,200 income tax deduction for expenses of caring for elderly relatives, under a proposal by DFL U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar.
Klobuchar said at the State Fair debate that she explained 'exactly how she was going to pay for' these tax give aways. She says she will pay for all her give aways by raising taxes on the top 1% of Americans. Is it possible for rolling back the Bush tax cuts to pay for all her give aways?
Of course my purpose in pointing this out, is that Klobuchar's demand to go back to Clinton's pay as you go really means you raise taxes when you want to spend money. Democrats want to pay for everything by taking that money away from one person and giving it to another. She's got a laundry list of things she's going to give away to people. If she is going to pay for it, she's going to have to raise taxes on just more than the top 1%.
As I've stated previously Kennedy's budget proposals are a spending spree and tax cutting binge of epic proportions with absolutely no hint of how he'll pay for it all.
For all you South Park Republicans out there, Mark Kennedy's budget proposal looks something like this:
1. Increase Spending & Cut Taxes
Maybe that kind of planning makes sense to
Also, is trying to balance the budget now a Democratic principle only? ("Clinton's pay as you go")
I wonder what the Gipper would think of that?
Update: Thanks to REW in the comments: facts about Kennedy's budget plan. Careful, reality has a known liberal bias.
Call for Rumsfeld vote falters in Senate
By ANDREW TAYLOR
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published Thursday, September 07, 2006
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats pushed for a vote Wednesday calling for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to be fired, but Republicans moved to head them off.
Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., submitted the resolution, which blasted the Bush administration's Iraq policy. "'Staying the course' is not a strategy for success," it said....
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the floor manager of the bill, rose to Rumsfeld's defense and promised to kill the Democratic resolution on a point of order....
The GOP blocking tactics would prevent politically imperiled Republicans from having to vote to support the way President Bush and Rumsfeld have handled the war, which is increasingly unpopular with the public.
So, once again obstructionist Senate Republicans have denied the will of the people and used parliamentary tricks to block a simple and constitutionally mandated up or down vote on Secretary Rumsfeld. Are they afraid of having their votes recorded? If he's qualified they should vote for him. If not vote against. This is about moral clarity. Stop playing political games with the nation's business!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
This isn't a "gotcha" post. I'm seriously puzzled what Andy finds so offensive about the cited clip. Any ideas?
(For anyone who's curious, the bit Andy cites is the first paragraph of this.)
What was the first warning sign? Handing both NFC wildcards to only slightly above average NFC East teams. Do the math yourself on how hard it would be for three teams from the same division to have 10-6 or better records. Not impossible, certainly, but difficult. Are the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles strong enough teams to achieve this feat? Not by my estimation and they're not helped by their schedules. Their divisional opponents are the NFC South in which they should be well challenged by Carolina and evenly matched against Tampa and Atlanta and the AFC South where they get to face Jacksonville and Indy. This isn't conclusive proof of football insanity, however. There's a heavy East Coast bias in most sports reporting (if you doubt it, look at how much coverage even a relatively average Giants team receives each year) and I think this mostly symptomatic of that.
So what's the conclusive warning sign? Check out who he picked to win the NFC North.
Stop laughing. This man clearly needs our help.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Bush's performance has been poor, but his packaging is exemplary
After 9/11 and Katrina, reality intruded on the president's finely honed image - and both times he was missing in action
The appeal of any presidential candidate is based on a "gut reaction, unarticulated, non-analytical, a product of the particular chemistry between the voter and the image of the candidate", argued Richard Nixon's speechwriter Raymond Price. "[It's] not what's there that counts, it's what's projected." And that projection, he continued, "depends more on the medium and its use than it does on the candidate himself". In other words, the American presidency is not just a political role but a performative one.
Over the past six years, George Bush's performance, both in office and on the campaign trail, has often been less than stellar. But his packaging has, for the most part, been exemplary. He has been projected as a man of the people and a man of action. Never mind that he did precious little for the first 40 years of his life and that most of what he did achieve came courtesy of his father's connections. Image was everything. This was the MBA candidate who would take care of business - literally and metaphorically; the blue-blood whose folksy affectations turned blue states red; the affable jock who created a softball team called Nads in college just so that he could make banners saying "Go Nads".
Liberals ridiculed Bush for being ignorant about the rest of the world, but what many of them failed to grasp is that this is precisely what so many of their fellow countrymen liked about him. He didn't know the name of the president of Pakistan, and nor did they. The fact that he mangled his syntax was taken not as evidence that he had squandered an expensive education but as a sign of his unrehearsed folksiness. His supporters like the fact that he doesn't think too much. He's not a ditherer but, in his own words, "the decider".
Only twice did reality intrude on this meticulously constructed and carefully choreographed image: first after the terrorist attacks of September 11, and then almost exactly four years later, following Hurricane Katrina. Those two events represent the zenith and the nadir of Bush's presidency. In the wake of September 11, 69% of Americans believed he was a president who "cared about people like them", and 75% thought he was "a strong and decisive leader". After Katrina, those numbers were 42% and 49% respectively. Within a month of 9/11, Bush's approval ratings had hit a giddy 92%; within a month of Katrina, they were down to 40%.
(From The Guardian. Read the rest.)
and this comic:
within minutes of each other.
The film is very intricately plotted with five storylines carrying on simultaneously throughout and each of the major plots has at least one subplot attached to it as well. All in all, not a film to watch with less than your full attention. But if you're willing to give it the attention it deserves, the movie is richly rewarding. From the "Bryan Woodman" plot with its Quiet American resonance to the cut throat realism of the Connex-Killen merger negotiations and the connection that has to the film's explosive finale it delivers on every level.
In the film, each player thinks that they control or at least influence their part of the Middle East, but each player finds themselves checked, often unintentionally, by other players working towards a separate, yet intertwined goal. The picture that emerges of the Middle East is like three games of chess being played on the same board. Even the grandmasters at the table are unable to make their moves because other pieces on the board keep moving in ways they cannot expect or anticipate.
I did have a question, though, for anyone who has seen it. One plot point I'm not sure I understood. It has to do with the points at which two of the major plots intertwine. I'll put up a little white space here, and warn anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet that this question constitutes a spoiler, so if you think you're going to see the movie you shouldn't read any further....
My question is regarding the Bob Barnes subplot and how it intersects with the Dean Whiting/Prince Meshal subplot. I thought originally that the person Barnes is sent to Beirut to assassinate is Prince Nasir, but I'm starting to wonder if that was correct. Was he actually sent to assassinate Prince Meshal? And was Whiting responsible for Barnes' almost execution at the hands of Mussawi? If not, then what did Barnes have on Whiting that he could threaten him in the coffee shop in order to recover his passport?
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I ended up standing very close to a Kennedy campaign staffer and another supporter, which in some ways was more fun than the debate, and I really enjoyed the debate. However, the best part of the day was the Kennedy Bait Shop, and not just because of the pretty waterbottles MNObserver got for me.
rew and the fish
I guess they couldn't use the any of the other pictures because of, you know, the finger.....
Also, my moment with Robert Fitzgerald....
(Yes, I was at the Republican booth signing up for the Ronald Reagan bobblehead. I like bobbleheads.)