Main

August 11, 2010

Mark Dayton Prevails

dayton.jpg

For the third straight election cycle Minnesota Democrats had a choice between a candidate who would appeal state-wide (including the vote rich suburbs) and a candidate with a narrow appeal foisted upon us by union stewards (not the rank and file), selected party hacks, and sparsely populated northern Minnesota.

Although much better than Tom Emmer, I am afraid that Mark Dayton is too weird and too polarizing to appeal to most voters in a general election. Oh well, it may be a disaster for the state financially, but at least an Emmer administration will be fun to watch!

April 8, 2010

Bachmann-Palin-Overdrive

duo-1.jpg

So what do you get when you combine the former half-term Governor of the State of Alaska and a conservative Congresswoman from central Minnesota who puts the nut into wingnut? (well besides the whitest place in the world)? You get Bachmann-Palin-Overdrive that's what you get. And they're takin' care of business baby (literally, with a $10,000-a-plate fundraiser as part of the agenda).

That's right nearly 11,000 adoring fans somehow got away from their day jobs to come down to a place represented by a black Muslim congressman to get a chance to show their love for Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. By most accounts the tea party crowd did themselves good as no misspelling of the word America showed up on their signs, no use of the "N" word, etc. Must be that publically funded Minnesota education showing through.

signs.jpg
Signs are pre-made to ensure proper spelling

While the message was pretty basic Republican fare: turn back the clock on individual rights, tax breaks for those who can afford $10,000 chicken dinners in a hotel ballroom, and government hands off your government provided Medicare benefits, the fact that it was delivered by two smokin' hot cougar brunettes almost guaranteed universal love. Word of a vibrant black market Viagra trade in the convention center restrooms is pure speculation.

I especially loved the quotes from supporters saying that half-term Governor Palin was a champion of the people and would represent their interests. Sure the gal talks a good game, but look at her record, she has been as big a supporter of business interests (and her own interests) over the little guy since her days of being Mayor of Wasilla (population 12,500).

Duo.jpg
I know what you're thinking -- Keep your mind out of the gutter!!

In the end it's all good harmless fun. The Teaparty crowd gets to see their hotties, and blow off a little steam. Better than shooting up a police station or threatening elected officials who disagree with them. The rest of us get to chuckle in amusement and count the days until conservatives are disappointed by their latest "anointed" ones.

March 23, 2010

Why Health Care Reform WON'T Be Repealed

Now that Health Care reform has been adopted, Republicans like Michelle Bachman have vowed to repeal it. In fact even before President Obama signs the bill into law, repeal efforts are ramping up. The sad fact for these people is that health care reform is not going to be repealed.

Most obvious is that even if Republicans win both the House and Senate (a remote possibility) and pass a repeal law the first day of the new session, President Obama will veto the measure and it is extremely unlikely that the Republicans will have the votes to override a veto. So a credible repeal effort will have to wait until 2013 at the minimum if a Republican can defeat Obama in 2012.

But even if that happens what provisions would the Republicans actually repeal? The $250 payment to seniors to help pay for prescriptions? The elimination of insurance company-imposed yearly and lifetime benefit caps? The ability of insurance companies to deny you insurance due to a "pre-existing condition" or drop your coverage because you got sick? Maybe they will repeal the provision that allows you to keep your kid on your family's insurance coverage until the age of 26 or maybe they will take away the tax credit to small businesses to help pay for health insurance coverage.

No the bottom line is that many provisions of the health care reform will prove to be quite popular with the American public, just like government-sponsored Medicare is with senior citizens. See that's what the Republican's are afraid of. That America will like health care reform. The problem is that once the American public finds out that grandma isn't going to face a death panel, that 1/6 of the economy hasn't been taken over by the government, that they and their family members can't be denied health care, it's all over for the Republicans and that they will be found out for what they truly are: an idea-berift political party full of grumpy old cranks that don't know anything other than how to oppose progress. And that's why they want to repeal the health care reform.

QUICK ADD:

Today a survey by USA Today shows that support for the health care bill has increased. By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms, as "enthusiastic" or "pleased," while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the bill "a good first step" that should be followed by more action on health care.

Once the general public finds out more about about this bill, support will increase even more. The ones who will be making it an issue in November are the Democrats.

February 3, 2010

Republicans Are Crazy

chart.jpg

Yesterday a survey was released that looks at the views of over 2000 self-identified Republicans and the results are amazing. Bottom line is that Republicans are fast becoming a fringe group with views and opinions way outside the mainstream of American thought. Look at the chart above that highlights some of the results.

64% of Republicans think or aren't sure that Obama was born outside of the U.S. 53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Obama. Only 8 percent think gays should be able to teach in school. The list goes on. Here's the full survey.

This survey shows that the Republican faithful are so outside of the political mainstream it's difficult for Dems to govern with them. It is also pushing elected officials, who I believe aren't as crazy, (Michelle Bachman excepted) to move rightward. Also although it appears that Republicans will do well in the next election, once the American public looks closely at what Republicanism stands for in 2010, they will be rejected once again.

I'll leave you with this one stat from the survey: 23 percent of republicans (33% southerners) want their state to secede from the union. Way to love your country Republicans! Also I would love to see how well Alabama or Mississippi, or Texas would fare without sucking at the Federal teat

November 11, 2009

Katherine Kersten Hates Gay Marriage

kersten.jpg

Responding to the Star Tribune's Katherine Kersten could easily fill a blogger's screen for a year and I typically have ignored her. But this past Sunday's screed against gay marriage is just too delicious to pass up. It's no surprise Kerstin is writing about her opposition to gay marriage. Gays probably rank right up with there with scary Muslims and the downfall of today's culture as tried and true Kersten columns.

I found it interesting that Kersten in her opening paragraph has to backtrack a little on gay marriage. She admits that if a married couple asks "how does gay marriage directly impact my own hetero-marriage?" she can't point out any good examples. Part of this is a realization that we've had gay marriage now for a number of years in some states (including next door Iowa) and all the doom and gloom predicted by the gay marriage opponents have not come to pass (much like we have yet to see a Islamic-centered agenda from Congressman Keith Ellison that KK was so worried about).

Doom and gloom won't work because we have too much evidence that gay marriage really has no impact on how we live our everyday lives. So Kersten has to fall back on philosophy. Kersten's main argument against gay marriage is that marriage is an institution needed to create families. In other words, marriage is reserved for those who can procreate. Here's the kicker quote: "Marriage channels men's and women's sexual attraction into productive ends, and harnesses the male sex drive by binding men to the mothers of their children."

No word on whether or not a couple's marriage can be revoked if for some reason they were not able to produce children or if there is some sort of contract a couple signs when getting a marriage license that states that they will produce x number of children over the course of their marriage. Just think of the possibilities! More importantly what about post-menopausal women who want to get married? Should they be refused marriage too? Under a KK world will men and women have to undergo fertility testing to make sure that they are able to procreate and thus uphold the real purpose of marriage? Does every man over the age of 55 get Viagra with their marriage license?

Of course if we talked with KK she would scoff at all of those examples. But in a nutshell these examples are at the core of her problem. The anti-gay marriage logic is so tortured, so gerrymandered to solely defend her anti-homosexual agenda that it just falls apart under the faintest of scrutiny.

Not withstanding the disappointing vote against it in Maine last week, gay marriage is more and more becoming a reality on the United States. Younger people have no issue with gay marriage and since most of the opposition lies with older people, each year that opposition becomes less and less pronounced. The states that have approved gay marriage have not become Sodom and Gomorrah, gays haven't been "recruiting" more kids to their team, and existing hetero marriages are just as strong (or weak) as ever. The fact that gay marriage opponents are left with flimsy philosophical arguments and stale anti-gay anecdotes to make their case shows how out of the mainstream they've become.

Update:
There was a hilarious parody of the Kersten column in today's strib. Read the Kersten column from the link above, then check out this. Good stuff.

October 1, 2009

HHH Metrodome -- Good Riddance!!

metrod1.jpg

With the Twins winning today it looks like there may be at least 1 or 2, possibly 3 more meaningful baseball games at the HHH Metrodome this weekend. Chances are slim I know, but there is a chance. I will definitely be paying attention and hoping against hope for a Twins sweep of the Royals.

A few people have asked me if I am going to one of the last games at the dome this weekend and I enthusiastically tell them no. I've have hated inside baseball since 1982 and I am ecstatic that the Twins will be playing outside next year. I will take a few days of cold, wet, blustery games over a whole summer of inside baseball. I have never wavered over my hatred of the Dome and my wanting a new Twins ballpark was all about wanting to see baseball outside, not some fear that the Twins would move without a new ballpark.

Sure there have been great memories at the dome. I was at all four games of the 1991 World Series. But I tie those great memories to the Twins, not the Dome. The Dome was antiseptic, it was bland, it was plastic. It wasn't built for baseball and was cursed with horrible sightlines. In Minnesota we have such few months of actual nice weather it was a crying shame that one had to go inside to watch baseball.

So good riddance HHH Metrodome. I won't miss you. I won't shed a tear over you. And I'll mark your passing with a sigh of relief that we finally saw the (sun) light and built a beautiful new outdoor ballpark.

September 8, 2009

Crazy

Obama.jpg

So President Obama has a message to school children today and surprise surprise, the right wing kooks are worried that Obama is trying to corrupt their children.

Besides the fact that the President's message is fairly benign: Stay in school, work hard, you all have value -- this is just another example of how conservatives have become so shrill and functionally disconnected from issues facing real people in this country.

Unfortunately our media just eats this stuff up and brings a spotlight to folks who don't even deserve a candle. Just think if they gave as much attention to how health care costs are destroying family and workplace budgets throughout the country, how environmental degradation is causing instability throughout the entire planet... But those are complicated issues with nuance. Why try to educate the American population when all you have to do is spend time with some crazed wing nut railing about Obama turning their kids into socialists.

August 26, 2009

Edward (Ted) Kennedy 1932-2009

463px_Ted_Kennedy.jpg

For liberals of a certain age too young to remember John or Robert Kennedy, Ted Kennedy was the man. Maybe he didn't soar to the heights of his brothers, but he probably accomplished a whole heck of a lot more. Below are two meaty articles about Ted Kennedy, his life, and lasting impact.

The New Republic

New York Times

August 18, 2009

Guns at Town Hall Meeting

town halljpg.jpg

Besides yelling out half truths and hatred, the angry right now feels like it's o.k. to bring guns to town hall meetings, especially ones where President Obama is speaking.

Now the states where this is happening people have a right to carry firearms and the Secret Service is well aware of the gun toters and insist that the President is in no danger. But still is sends a chilling message. The gun slingers claim they have the right to free speech but doesn't everyone else? And can you think of a better way to suppress speech than by waving a gun in someone's face?

Also let's face it, there are a bunch of right-wing looney's out there who would love to get a shot at President Obama. Seeing this just fuels that, even if the Secret Service insists everything is under control.

One last thought, what do you think the reaction would have been during President Bush's term if someone had brought a semi-automatic rifle to a town hall meeting? Heck two guys got arrested in Denver for wearing T-shirts that said "No Bush." If a gun toting Bush Town Hall protester had brown skin I somehow think he'd be residing in Guantanamo right now.

July 28, 2009

Obama and the Birthers

birth close-up.jpg

In the last few weeks, The Birthers, those folks who don't think Obama was born in the United States and thus ineligible to be President, have gotten their views in the traditional media like CNN and MSNBC. Even though the State of Hawaii has asserted that there is a valid birth certificate and the local newspaper had a birth announcement back in 1960, (see above) for some reason The Birthers are not convinced.

Let's get something straight. The only reason this is an issue is because we have a black president. The people pushing this "story" can't abide the fact that the President of the United States is a black man. Now of course they know they can't say that out loud in polite company so they glom on to wild conspiracies. It is similar to issues last year during the campaign when people insisted, in the face of evidence to the contrary, that Obama was Muslim. It's a way to point out that Obama is different, that he's not like us and worthy to govern without having to say the "I don't want a black person as president."

Unfortunately for the Republicans, the base of their support has dwindled down to the cranks, crazy, and racists. Their supporters actually believe this stuff. So even though most elected Republicans know the Birther issues are completely unfounded, they can't come out and say that or they will piss off half their supporters. So Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. They either look crazy to most of the electorate for not repudiating this easily debunked claim or they tell a large percentage of their hardcore supporters that they are crazy. The irony is delicious and a lot of fun to watch. Couldn't happen to a better bunch of guys.

July 20, 2009

Walter Cronkite and the Death of Journalism

walter.jpeg

Walter Cronkite died last and the accolades are coming in from all quarters of the media. A lot of focus has been on three events: When he showed emotion announcing President Kennedy's assassination, his declaring that the Vietnam War was not winnable in 1968 and his reporting and anchoring of CBS's Watergate coverage when it was obvious that Cronkite was just as appalled at the Nixon Administration as most Americans.

His words about Vietnam are the most jarring, even 40 years later:

To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

Now this wasn't a novel concept. Many in the government and military agreed, as did a larger and larger percentage of the American public. But to have Walter Cronkite say it is considered a turning point in the war's popularity with the American public. Unbeknownst to most people, President Lyndon Johnson after seeing the news report lamented "if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

It's interesting that we are revisiting Walter Cronkite's career at the same time that we are learning more details about the media's behavior during South Carolina Governor's recent AWOL stint to meet his girlfriend in Argentina. The South Carolina Newspaper The State was able to obtain all the e-mails sent to the Governor's office, including those from the media requesting interviews of the governor. It isn't pretty.

Of course there are the e-mails from "friendly" media before everyone knew Sanford was in Argentina giving him support and assuring him that he will get a fair shake. These included a number of Fox News reporters. What is more troubling is that even after we knew the whole Appalachian Trail story was false, national media personalities such as Jake Tapper at ABC and David Gregory at NBC were sending Sanford's office e-mails asking for an interview and promising to allow Sanford to present his side of the story. Gregory's missive's are particularly galling:

"Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it's exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest."

And later...

"Look, you guys have a lot of pitches .. I get it and I know this is a tough situation ... Let me just say this is the place to have a wider conversation with some context about not just the personal but also the future for him and the party ... This situation only exacerbates the issue of how the GOP recovers when another national leader suffers a setback like this. So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to...and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it."

So even though David Gregory knew that Sanford lied about his whereabouts for five days, and his family, staff, and security detail didn't know where he was, Gregory was willing to suck up to Governor Sanford allow him to tell his side of the story and "frame the conversation on how you really want to."

Wow! We've come a long way from Walter Cronkite in 40 years. From wanting to report the truth -- even if that meant questioning what officials were saying to actively courting public officials to change the subject and frame the issues to their advantage. Just think of our media had acted like Walter Cronkite in the lead up to the Iraq War? or took on Global Warming skeptics? Or exposed how our tax policies favor the rich over everyone else? The death of Walter Cronkite turns the final chapter on the media being the public watchdog to the media courting access and not ruffling feathers. Unfortunately our democracy flourishes on the former.

UPDATE Here is a very funny Comedy Central bit about the "journalist" e-mails:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
To Sir, With Love
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

July 8, 2009

Sarah Palin in 2012?

FarSide-CatFud.gif

Recent events surrounding (former) Governor Sarah Palin reminded me of this old Far Side Cartoon.

The Dog is the Democrats
The Cat is the Republicans
Cat Fud is Sarah Palin for President in 2012 (or 2016, 2020...)

July 7, 2009

Mr. Franken Goes to Washington

Sen Al.png

It's official. Al Franken is your junior Senator from Minnesota. Worried about what kind of Senator Franken will be? Here's a nice article.

July 2, 2009

June 2009 Recap

franken copy.feature.jpg
Photo via of MN Daily

For some reason June just blows by. It seems like the month just starts and boom, its gone and we are making plans for the 4th. This year was a particularly memorable June, here are the highlights:

Mr. Franken goes to Washington. It took over eight months but we finally have our Senator. The writing's been on the wall with this one for a couple of months now but the slow as molasses pace and then all of a sudden it's over was breathtaking. Sure Franken is a goof but he is taking the job seriously and has some bona fide political chops. I think Republicans will be sorely mistaken if they underestimate Franken's ability to do a credible job and connect with ordinary Minnesotans.

Michael Jackson dead (and Farrah, and Ed, and Karl Malden, and Billy May, and Jay Bennett...) Wow bad month for celebrities. I can appreciate Michael's obvious musical talent with the Jackson 5 and his early solo stuff but the guy was a confirmed child molester. The crushing weight of celebrity and his own demons turned him into a freak at the end so he gained some sympathy there but don't forget: the man slept with little boys.

Timberwolves and Wild changing gears. Man I wanted Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry together in the backcourt and was that >< close to seeing it happen. I am not sure if Rubio will play for the Wolves this year, but I think he will play eventually. This team still has a lot of holes but the excitement over Rubio should demonstrate to the Wolves "braintrust" that this is a real NBA market. Give us a team that is exciting, shows us some promise for the future, and we will come out and be there with you. Wild lose Gaborik which is no surprise. Now lets rebuild this team and get a goal scorer or two.

Twins. Aaron Gleeman has a good article describing the Twins first half of the season. Essentially Young, Tolbert, Punter, Buscher, and Gomez are a negative balance to the nice seasons Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, and Cuddyer are having. The starting pitching are slightly coming around as are the relievers. A nice right handed reliever is still needed but the Twins are blessed by playing in a flawed division. However can they compete in the playoffs?

New Wilco album. I really wanted to have a review ready today but just haven't been able to give Wilco (the album) a good listen or two. Reviews are mixed and the first couple of songs haven't exactly grabbed me. I love however the first single, You Never Know. If the whole album is like that, I will be raving. Look for a review next week.

No Beer at TCF Bank Stadium. The state legislature says everyone gets to buy booze or no one does. The Regents decided no one. I don't have a problem with this as virtually no college football stadium sells alcohol to the general population. Legislators get on their high horse and say they are looking out for the "common folks" who can't afford a fancy stadium suite. Too bad they don't worry about the common folks when they pass legislation that favors corporate interests over working families so spare me your faux populism.

So 2009 is halfway in the books what else happened in June that I missed?

June 11, 2009

Got Hate?

Yesterday a white supremacist shoots up the National Holocaust Museum, killing a guard. Last week, it was right wing nut job killing an abortion doctor in his church. In April a guy worried that “Obama was going to take his guns” shoots and kills three Pittsburgh police.

Sure it was funny when Michelle Bachmann says something crazy, the Texas Governor says he wants his State to secede, or thrice-divorced, drug addicted Rush Limbaugh tries to lecture Democrats about values. But clearly the right wing ranting about President Obama is unfortunately causing the more unstable elements of the loony right to start killing people. Even Shepherd Smith of Fox News(!) said over the air that he was upset about all the hate e-mails he was getting.

The First Amendment allows the wing-nuts to say what ever they want about Obama and the state of the world. It’s what makes this country great. However, these commenters have to take responsibility for the actions that their hate speech has generated. Bill O’Reilly can’t use the airways for years stating that Dr. Tiller should be taken out and then wash his hands of all culpability when someone actually does the deed. Right-wingers who tolerate and encourage white supremacists now all of a sudden have blood on their hands. It would be nice if they would man up and admit their responsibility in these heinous actions. I won’t hold my breath.

April 29, 2009

Obama's First 100 Days

so-cool.jpg

It’s really a meaningless benchmark but everyone is talking about it so what the heck, how’s Obama doing after 100 days?

One thing Obama has going for him was that the bar was set so low with GWB. Most people wanted Guantanamo closed, unrestricted stem cell research, more reliance on science in policy considerations, the tax system more reliant on the those with higher incomes, reduction of troops in Iraq… I think most rationale people are relieved that grown ups are running things now.

However, grumbling isn’t coming just from a dying republican party, fox news, and old white cranks uncomfortable with a black president. Liberals too have complained about Wall Street getting off scot-free in the bailout measures, torturers not being prosecuted, state secrecy policies closer to the Bush Administration than most feel comfortable with…Obama has not been the Great Liberal Messiah some had hoped.

Me, I am generally pretty happy with how things are going. Any concerns that this President didn’t have the cojones to be president have long been set aside. Has he done everything I hoped we would in the first 100 days? No way. But neither has my boss, wife, kids, or anyone else I know. It’s unreasonable to think that anyone would act the way you always want them to. Has Obama gotten the important things right? In my opinion he has and that’s why I look forward to the next 7-3/4 years of an Obama Administration.

Overall Grade: B+

April 15, 2009

Iowa Approves Gay Marriage

marriage.jpg

With the Iowa Supreme Court approving gay marriage a few weeks back and the Vermont legislature following suit a few days later, it appears that we are close to a tipping point in the legal acceptance of gay marriage in this country. Personally I think this is a good thing as I don’t feel my own marriage is weakened by gays marrying any more than it is weakened when Britany Spears is married and divorced in a 36 hour drunken span in Las Vegas or skanks compete to win the hand of a bachelor on Fox TV. Plus any means by which loving couples, regardless of gender, are legally committed to each other strengthens our society, not weakens it.

Anti-gay groups are fighting this trend with all they have, trying to get constitutional amendments on the books outlawing gay marriage. They have to fight because they know time is not on their side. Even though polls show that Americans are split on gay marriage, it’s really an age difference that makes up that split. People over 65 strongly oppose gay marriage, while those under 25 do not. The problem for the anti-gay folks is that those over 65s are dying off while younger folks are more accepting of gays and gay marriage. For college age kids, someone being gay is like someone being left handed. A trait that is interesting and different for about 5 minutes.

The effort to approve gay marriage in Vermont and Iowa is very interesting and Salon.com has a pretty good article outlining those efforts. Vermont is a perfect example of what happens when states take slow but steady steps toward equality. That state approved Civil Unions in 2000. Nine years of civil unions showed “allowing gays and lesbians to enter into legally binding partnerships did not herald the end of the world. Fire and brimstone didn't rain down on the land, plagues didn't smite their iconic maple trees and most important of all, children in these nontraditional families were just as well-adjusted as their peers with straight parents.”

Nate Silver at the site 538.com has an interesting analysis of the political acceptance of gay marriage and has built a model on how popular a gay marriage ban is in each state and given the falling support of such bans, when gay marriage is likely to be approved. Given his analysis, he sees gay marriage being approved in each state in the following time frame. (you’re gonna have to read the whole post to get the analysis but it’s pretty dang good)

2009 (now)

Vermont
New Hampshire
Massachusetts
Maine
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Nevada*
Washington
Alaska*
New York
Oregon*

2010

California*
Hawaii
Montana*
New Jersey
Colorado*

2011
Wyoming
Delaware
Idaho*
Arizona*

2012
Wisconsin*
Pennsylvania
Maryland
Illinois

2013
Michigan*
Minnesota
Iowa
Ohio*
Utah*
Florida*

2014
New Mexico
North Dakota*
Nebraska*
South Dakota*

2015
Indiana
Virginia*
West Virginia
Kansas*

2016
Missouri*

2018
Texas*

2019
North Carolina
Louisiana*
Georgia*

2020

Kentucky*

2021
South Carolina*
Oklahoma*

2022
Tennessee*
Arkansas*

2023
Alabama*

2024

Mississippi*

If Silver’s analysis is correct, sometime in 2013 over half the states will approve gay marriage with only the deep south not accepting gay marriage. That right there is why the anti-gay forces are trying so hard to ban gay marriage, time is working against them. So hats off to Iowa, approval of gay marriage is no longer something found on the coasts, but brought smack dab into the middle of the heartland. The promise of America is that all are created equal and that we move toward that equality slowly, sometimes awkwardly, but always forward.

April 13, 2009

My Favorite Things -- Crazy Republicans

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10.31 Project
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

There nothing like two consecutive election loses and a black president with a Muslim sounding funny name to bring out the crazies in the Republican Party. From Minnesota's own Michelle Bachman espousing armed rebellion to Fox News' Glenn Beck channeling Howard Beale to GOP leader Michael Steele trying to bring "hip-hop" sensibility to an über-white political party with its base of support in the rural south, it appears that the Republican's are having a nervous breakdown right in our living rooms, all in glorious HD television.

In the last month, Republicans have offered alternative federal budgets with no actual numbers, elevated Rush Limbaugh to national spokesman, and come out against volcano monitoring funding literally days before a volcano began ominous rumblings in Alaska. Republicans were against the stimulus, except for those project that benefited their own districts and states and against helping out the car makers in Detroit because the foreign manufacturers in their states wouldn't benefit.

The nadir was probably this weekend when on the Sunday talk shows Republicans like Newt Gringrich were practically rooting on the Somalian pirates, blaming President Obama for the ultimate death of the kidnapped captain. Of course it was only a few hours later when Special Forces snipers, on orders from the President, ended the kidnapping and killed three pirates.

Now of course it's a lot of fun watching Republicans and conservatives fall on their face, rely on the same old tired ideas that have been discredited and rejected, and be spoofed tirelessly on television (see video above). Unfortunately there is a dark side to their wackiness. By all accounts the gunman in Pittsburgh who killed three cops was driven to his murderous behavior by the rantings on the right, worried that his guns were going to be taken away. Three families no longer have a father and husband because someone was led astray by lunatics on the right. Who's next, when will someone actually take Michelle Bachman seriously and try armed resistance? So we can laugh at the crazies but let's keep on our toes. Point out the hypocrisy, the nuttiness. The republicans are digging their own graves, let's make sure we keep handing them shovels.

March 5, 2009

Jon Stewart Destroys CNBC

If you don't watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart you have to watch the above clip. Steward absolutely pulls the curtain away from CNBC and their so called "business reporting." Probably won't change what CNBC does but man it sure was cathartic.

March 3, 2009

Obama Kicking Ass and Taking Names

On Saturday during his weekly address, President Obama went through a list of new programs he was touting and afterwards he finished by stating:

“I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: So am I.”
Boy it feels good to have a President not afraid to take these bad boys on and say so publically. For the most part the American public is behind the President, it’s good to see he’s behind us. Now I don’t know if all of what Obama is proposing is going to work. No one knows. The problem is that the 8 years of Republican rule left this country in ruins. Obama’s got to do something and the old way of doing things has got to end. I for one look forward to seeing if it all works.

February 17, 2009

George Will and Washington Post -- Oops!

In the weekend's Washington Post, in typical global warming denier fashion, George Will made the following arguement:

"According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979."

However, within hours of Will's column appearing, the ACRC had posted the following statement on its website:

"We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts."

I don't know which is worse, George Will making shit up or the Washington Post allowing it's pages to publish something that was obviously easy to confirm as not true. And the traditional media complains that bloggers can say anything without controls.


January 20, 2009

President Obama!

hope.jpg

January 19, 2009

Good Riddance!!!

bush_turkey.jpg

This weekend, at a strip mall there was both a Circuit City and Cost Plus Global Market that were going out business. We stopped by and both stores were packed with people acting like vultures picking over the detritus of a ruined economy. I thought it was a fitting that this happened in George W Bush’s last weekend as President. When this is posted there will be less than 24 hours of the reign of error known as the George W. Bush Presidency. Our ability to survive the past 8 years is case and point proof that the American people and its government are quite resilient.

However, already the rough edges are being smoothed over and forgotten. Before we look back too wistfully on the past 8 years let’s remember the following facts (most of tgis came from an article in salon.com):

When George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001, he inherited peace and prosperity. The military, the Constitution and New Orleans were intact and the country had a budget surplus of $128 billion. Now he's about to dash out the door, leaving a large, unpaid bill for his successors to pay.

Expected shortfall of gross domestic product below normal growth path in 2009: $900 billion

Decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from its decade high to its value at the close of business, Jan. 7, 2009: 5,394.83, or 38.1 percent

Number of manufacturing jobs lost since 2000: 3.78 million

Increase in number of unemployed workers from 2001 to 2008: 4 million, a jump of 2.7 percent in the unemployment rate

Real median household income according to the 2000 census, adjusted for inflation: $51,804

Real median household income as of August 2007: $50,233

National debt: $10.6 trillion

Amount of that debt owned by China: At least $800 billion

Number of bridges judged structurally deficient: 70,000.

Meanwhile, the roads aren't only worn down, they're overcrowded. In part, we can thank an administration that gave tax credits to SUV buyers while targeting public transit for cuts.

The Bush White House's proposed cuts in public transit funding for fiscal year 2009: $202.1 million.

Target level of federal funding for Amtrak proposed by Bush in 2005: $0.

How many times have you heard, "With the money we spend in Iraq in just one week ..."?
So how much has that been, exactly? Linda Bilmes, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and co-author with economist Joseph Stiglitz of "The Three Trillion Dollar War," thinks the figure in her book's title is, if anything, too low. (Bilmes and Stiglitz put the full price of all Bush administration debacles at $10 trillion in their own excellent damage report for the January issue of Harper's.)

Cost: From the start of the war through 2017, "You can't get any lower than $3 trillion."

Amount of money earned by a married U.S. Army sergeant with children per day in Iraq in 2007: $170

Amount of money earned by a Blackwater military contractor per day: $600

Number of U.S. military deaths as of Jan. 7, 2009: 4,222

Cost to conduct the war per month: $12 billion

Amount the Bush administration estimated the war would cost from start to finish: $60 billion

Difference in price of brand-name drugs, U.S. and Canada, in 2004: 70 percent more expensive in the U.S.

Increase in average prescription drug price between 1997 and 2007: From $35.72 to $69.91

While buying drugs for seniors, Bush denied healthcare to kids. In 2007, he vetoed an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which gives federal money to the states to help provide health insurance for families with children.

Number of children kept off of SCHIP because of Bush's veto: 4 million

Number of nine warmest years on record that have occurred since 2000: Seven.

How much has the Arctic ice cap shrunk? 50 percent since the turn of the century.

By now, the stories of global warming denial and outright censorship of government scientists by the Bush administration are well known.

Finally I’ll leave you with this nugget to remind everyone about how well Bush kept us safe from terrorism:

August 6, 2001 Presidents Daily Brief: Osama Determined to Strike in the U.S.

Bush Response to the Agent giving the briefing: “Thanks, now you’ve covered your ass.?

Good Riddance, don't let door hit you in the ass on the way out.

January 7, 2009

Thoughts on Franken v. Coleman

white coleman.jpg

Look at that picture above. Can you imagine a group of supporters that could be any whiter, older, grumpier? That picture is the face of the Republican party and speaks volumes over the apparent lack of future the Republicans are confronted with.

Second, I have no problem with former Senator Coleman pursuing a court case regarding the election results. First it’s well within his rights and second it will finally put to rest any questions regarding the election, recount and validity of Franken’s razor-thin victory. Also if Republicans want to contribute $$$ to a losing court case instead of party-building and candidate support, that’s ok with me. Coleman needs to be careful, however, if he taps too many deep pocket Republicans to support his election court case, they won’t have any money to support his legal defense fund, which is coming up fast. Former Senator Coleman, I wouldn’t want to be in your Manolo Blahniks.

Finally, the Star Tribune published my letter regarding the complaints over the election results. Click Here to read it.

December 15, 2008

Throwing Shoes in Iraq

bush shoe.jpg
President Bush and Hamid Karzai practice their shoe avoidance strategies

I am of mixed emotions over the shoe incident yesterday in Iraq. As an American no one wants to see their president being attacked, even by a shoe, even if the President is a dope. Also the attack makes Bush a somewhat sympathetic figure and with 5 weeks left, this man does not deserve any sympathy to what he’s done to this country or Iraq.

But man it would have been sweet to see one of those shoes smack him squarely on the nose…

November 12, 2008

The Recount

We are about to embark on a recount process for U.S. Senate which promises to be heated and controversial for the next 4-6 weeks. With Senator Norm Coleman ahead by 206 votes out of 2.9 million cast, the results are about as close as they can possibly be. Fortunately Minnesota has a reputation for a clean electoral and recount process and the final results shouldn’t be called into question. The fact that a recount is needed is based on the state law that any election with a margin of less than ½ a percent triggers a required recount. In this case that means any result that had the two candidates within 14,500 votes of each other. The fact that the result is 206 votes shows how tight this election really is.

Unfortunately Senator Norm Coleman and his henchmen are trying to muddy the waters, make it look like there is something wrong with a recount, Minnesota’s electoral process, and Secretary of State Ritchie. Neither could be further from the truth. One of Coleman’s complaints is that the number of votes has changed from what was reported on election night. Coleman has gone from nearly a 800 vote lead to about a 200 vote lead. What Coleman’s supporters don’t mention is that this is normal for any election and that the roughly 600 vote change is actually quite small. This is an important and crucial part of the election certification process and has been for decades in Minnesota. In 2002 when Coleman was first elected, Coleman lost 8,920 votes from the unofficial canvas to the final official total. Did Coleman complain or question the canvassing then? Of course not, he was firmly in the lead and those 9000 votes were meaningless to him.

The fact is that the State of Minnesota will do an independent, publically witnessed, ballot-by-ballot recount of the Senate vote. We will have a winner. It makes no sense for Senator Coleman to cast dispersions on this process as there is no evidence that it will not be on the up-and-up. Maybe Coleman is worried about the results.

The fact is that many of the votes that may be in question look to be in areas that Franken ran strongly. It doesn’t take a whole lot of uncounted ballots to get to 207. On the other hand, Coleman does have the lead and recounts rarely overturn a lead. I think with 2.9 million votes cast that 206 votes lead could easily go away (or increase). No one knows and that’s why we have a recount. Coleman’s complaints only serve to have the public question our electoral process. Given the fact that the State’s electoral process has a national reputation for being clean and fair, Coleman’s complaints seem to be self-serving rather than civic minded. Hmm… self-serving over being civic minded, why do these terms always seem to be associated with Norm Coleman?

November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

I went walking around campus day around Noon to get a sense of what was happening on election day. In honor of the concert tonight I had Dylan on the headphones (Blonde on Blonde, natch). In a word the feeling was electric. Red White and Blue Vote posters with Obama’s image was plastered all over the campus, everyone had red I Voted stickers and there was a low frequency buzz in the air. You could literally feel it.

Now a 70 degree day in November will always bring a level of giddiness in Minnesota but the excitement was palpable. I voted this morning in my heavily Democratic precinct and while it usually takes me 10 minutes to vote, today it took me 40. Change is in the air. Given the level of turnout nation-wide, it looks like people are fired up a ready to go. Tonight we shall see.

November 3, 2008

Obama for President

thatone.jpg

As any regular reader of this blog knows, I’ve supported Barack Obama for a long time now and will be proudly voting for him tomorrow. There are multiple reasons in no particular order: Fear of a Palin Presidency, the desire not to reward a Republican candidate for 8 years of utter Presidential incompetence, Obama’s tax policies favor my family over those proposed by McCain. Obama’s policies on the war in Iraq, Global Warming, energy independence would all gain my support. But one of the other reasons that Obama is getting my support is that he looks and acts like America and looks and acts now.

Republicans have long trafficked in fear and our differences instead of policies that unite. Obama’s mixed race heritage, his ability to talk about what unites us reflects where we are as a country. Obama looks to the future and offers hope, Republicans look to the past and offer fear. For that reason alone I will be voting for Barack Hussein Obama.

Here are my predictions for Tuesday. Use the comments to give your predictions, lets see who is the best political prognosticator at LFAD!

President – Obama 338 EV, McCain 220 EV

MN Senate – Franken 43, Coleman 41, Barkley 16

MN CD6 – Bachman 51, Tinklenberg 49

October 28, 2008

A Tale of Two Campaigns

barack rain.jpg

One rainstorm, two campaigns and two responses

"Wearing jeans, white sneakers and an insulated windbreaker, Barack Obama delivered his stump speech this morning in a chilly, steady rain in Chester, Pa.

"A little bit of rain never hurt anybody," Obama said, surveying the soaking, umbrella-covered crowd at Widener University, occasionally rubbing his hands together for warmth and squinting through the raindrops. An estimated 9,000 people turned out.

And John McCain:

"The McCain campaign announced it was postponing a rally at 1:15 p.m. in Quakertown, Pa., about one hour north of Chester, due to weather."

Add to the fact that an unnamed McCain staffer called Gov. Palin a "Whack Job" today, and you get the feeling that the wheels are starting to come off the McCain campaign bus.

October 23, 2008

What Would Happen If You Didn't Vote?

What would happen if you didn't vote and the other candidate won by that one vote? Besides feeling pretty terrible, I am guessing the media would have a field day with you. In fact, 1/2 of the country would be upset. It would probably look something like this.

UPDATE:

I took the embed out as it had the irritating autoplay feature. Definitely click the link. It's a hoot.


Lesson: Don't forget to vote!

October 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Rallies

philly.jpg

John McCain and Barack Obama held campaign rallies this past weekend that couldn’t have been more different than one another and they represent, I think, why Democrats are ascendant in this Country and Republicans are floundering.

John McCain was in Lakeville, MN on Friday. Lakeville is an outer ring suburb of Minneapolis that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years. White, middle class, with manicured lawns, homes with 3-car garages, and strip malls filled with stores you would recognize in any suburb in any part of the country, Lakeville is the American Dream incarnate. This area is solid George W. Bush country and why not? Bush (and Republican) policies have favored cities like Lakeville and their citizens for the past eight years. However McCain’s rally on Friday was angry. John McCain had to physically take the microphone away from a women who called Obama an Arab (some reports stated she added “terrorist? off-mic), over half of the questions from the attendees were to implore McCain to be meaner, to attack Obama and the Democrats. When McCain stated that Obama was a good family man and deserved respect, he was booed.

Contrast that scene with Obama’s rally Saturday afternoon in north Philly. Inner-city Philadelphia is one of those places that’s been ignored by the Bush Administration, predatory lending has led to an epidemic of home foreclosures, jobs are scarce, many of it’s best young men and women have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan, schools are ignored, tax policies favor the families in Lakeville not Philadelphia. If any group of people should be angry over the course that this Country has taken over the past eight year, it’s those who live in the inner cities. However, anger was not the flavor of the day. Instead it was one of hope.

Now of course these two rallies could just represent the state of the presidential race. It’s hard to be happy when your guy is losing. Likewise, why be upset when your candidate is seemingly cruising to victory. But I think there’s more here than just the ups and downs of an electoral contest. Right now Republicanism is a spent force. Republicans have no record to run on, they have no new ideas (just think the panic if the one new idea they did have – privatize social security – was enacted), they have no positive vision for America. All they have left is fear and anger.

Unfortunately for Republicans, fear and anger don’t work anymore. First there’s just too much information out there so while ugly rumors can be get out to more people quickly through the internet, they can be shot down just as quickly. Also Republicans have gone to the fear well too many times. When Republicans talk about how Democrats will ruin the economy most remember how the economy under Bill Clinton was a whole lot more robust than under George W. Bush. When Republicans talk about social ills under Democrats, America looks at a horndog John McCain dumping his first wife for an heiress, Larry Craig on his knees in an airport restroom, and lobbyists buying Republican influence with bags of money and gifts.

Even though it appears counterintuitive, I believe that north Philly rally is more reflective of America in 2008 than the one that took place on Friday. America is more diverse, more hopeful, more forgiving than those angry people that made their way to the lily white suburb of Lakeville. That’s why Barack Obama is winning this race. His is the face of America, his are the policies that make more sense, his views are those that resonate with a country that is sick of the Republican stance of angry words and broken promises.

September 30, 2008

Getting Ready for the Debate

The McCain campaign aims to halt what it sees as a perceived decline in the crispness and precision of Gov. Palin's latest remarks...

Since I am guessing I will be talking about the big Twins-White Sox game tomorrow and Thursday, I wanted to put in an early plug for the big Palin-Biden debate this coming Thursday. The above quote is from a very eye-opening Wall Street Journal article about the debate prep work surrounding Sarah Palin. What I think is really interesting is all the staff work that is being invested in Palin and this debate. I’m sure that staff could be doing something else, like crafting a coherent McCain response to the economic crisis we are facing, but hey they have to put out the fire of the day I guess.

Now we’ve all seen the cringe-inducing Katie Couric interviews and the spot-on SNL spoof. And yesterday Grampa McCain had to chaperone Palin at another Couric interview, which didn’t exactly help inspire confidence. Interest is now sky-high for Thursday’s debate: Will Palin look like a dolt? Will Joe Biden be too aggressive? What’s the over/under on the number of stupid things Biden will say?

Expectations are so low for Palin that if she doesn’t get physically ill on stage, it will be considered a “good performance.? Personally I think she will do o.k. She’ll make her digs against Obama and the Dems, probably not make a major gaffe and survive the day. The media off course will overreact and think she’s turned a corner. In the end it won’t matter much, Sarah Palin is not going to bring a whole lot of independents to the ticket and it will be the economy that determines the outcome of the election, not how Sarah Palin performs in her debate against Joe Biden. But it will sure be fun to watch, like a NASCAR race, hoping to see a crash, not necessarily seeing who will win.

September 3, 2008

McCain puts McCain first

Sarah-Palin-Vogue.jpg

Governor Sarah Palin has belonged to a political party that has part of its platform Alaska’s secession from the United States. When she was mayor of a town of 9,000 people, she increased the City’s debt from zero to $22 million dollars. She was an earmark queen, hiring a Washington lobbyist to bring in more federal tax $$$ to her City. In most cases this would disqualify her from major political office in the Republican Party. But tonight she will be lauded and bestowed with love from the Party’s faithful. Why?

Because she is a conservative. Besides the views described above, Palin is anti-abortion, including when the life of the mother is in danger. She wanted to ban books from her town’s library. She’s a global warming denier and wants to open up her state to more drilling for oil. She believes that our troops in Iraq were on a mission from God. In short she is Karl Rove’s wet dream: a conservative women, relatively young, and reasonably attractive. Who cares if she has no experience and is literally a John McCain heart attack away from the Oval Office? She’s a conservative that’s all that matters.

The Sarah Palin selection once again demonstrates that Republicans care more about ideology than governing. It’s funny that the theme of the convention is “Country First.? It’s a recognition that for the last 8 years those in power have put the interests of the Republican Party above the Country. Now McCain once again has put his own re-election first. Who cares if we could be electing a 72-year old man with a history of multiple bouts of cancer. His vice presidential candidate, who garnered nearly 700 votes in her first mayoral election, will see us through. Did you know she once fished Salmon?

September 2, 2008

Welcome to the Republican National Convention!

GOP Poster2.jpg

I think the picture above is an apt metaphor what Republicanism has meant to this country. Eight years of George W. Bush (and 5 years of Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota) has meant that the basic infrastructure holding our country together has collapsed. I just don’t mean our bridges and highways either.

Under Republican rule we have seen a 500 billion (that’s a B folks) be converted to a $300 billion deficit. We have made no progress in global warming, we have fought a war that created more terrorists in Iraq, while the guys who actually attacked us are still alive causing havoc in Afghanistan. Gas at $4.00 an hour and heating bills promising to be the highest ever. While George Bush was partying with John McCain, a city drowned and then the Bush administration and his sympathizers in Congress tried to push the blame for the poor response onto the citizens and public officials of Louisiana.

I could go on but we all know the drill. Republicans care more about ideology and having the “right? views than governing competently. John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin is just one more example of a person’s views being more important than their ability. This same song has played out time and time again under Republican rule whether it was Republican interns being shipped off to Iraq to “rebuild? the country or a horse lobbyist being hired as the head of FEMA (heckuva job!).

So in the end it does come down to our bridges and highways. The Republican mantra of no new taxes means we don’t take care of what we have. Ideology trumps governance. In Minnesota it meant the collapse of a major interstate highway and 13 deaths. It also means 4 other major bridges (Winona, Hastings, St. Cloud, Duluth) being closed or severely curtailed because the state was unwilling to fix them in a timely and prudent manner. Unfortunately what it has meant for this country is more than the inconvenience of commuters finding a new route home.

So welcome to the Republican National Convention. Thanks for screwing up the country. We just can’t wait to hear what else you have in store for us.

August 27, 2008

Hilary's Night

hrc.jpg

I wasn’t a big fan of Hilary Clinton in the Democratic campaign and I think she has only herself (and advisors) to blame for the fact that she gave her big speech on Tuesday and not Thursday. But man what a nice speech she gave.

Of course the best line was “were you in it for me or for that young marine? and the others like him who have struggled over the past 8 years. I think that should really hit home with a lot of Clinton supporters who have been reluctant to support Obama. I also liked the reaction shots of Bill Clinton who looked so proud of his wife. They must have one complicated relationship. He obviously loves and admires her but at the same time can’t (or couldn’t) help himself from cattin’ about. I’ll leave that to issue to the psychologists.

Republicans are Borg-like in their response that Clinton didn’t address Obama’s experience issue, which she hammered at so effectively at the end of their campaign. Thing is if she had addressed it, they would have accused her for changing tunes, saying something she doesn’t mean.

Bottom line is that Hilary Clinton told her supporters “I’m not going to be your therapist.? There’s a real election going on here with real issues. McCain means more of the past 8 years, Obama means a new future. That’s way more important than whether or not Hilary Clinton is given her proper due/ With this speech, the issue of the Clinton voters has been effectively been put to bed. Will 100% of Clinton’s supporters vote for Obama? No. Probably a small percentage will never vote for Obama. Will it have any noticeable impact on the Presidential race. No it won’t. It would be nice if the media moved on to something that did.

August 19, 2008

Potential Democratic Veep Picks - A Primer

All indications are that Barack Obama will be announcing his Vice President pick in the next day or so. As a public service, below is my rundown of the candidates thought to be under consideration:

Hilary Rodham Clinton. Senator from New York, former First Lady, presumptive Democratic nominee until they started having contests. Pros – A close second in the Democratic contest, has a lot of supporters, could bring more women/working class voters to the ticket, is considered to have more government experience than Obama. Cons -- Very divisive, the one candidate to rally lackadaisical right wingers to vote against the ticket, ran an awful campaign, Bill Clinton brings a lot of baggage to the campaign and potentially to the White House. Odds of being picked: 20-1.

Evan Bayh. Senator from Indiana. Pros – Young, handsome, “up and coming? Democrat, could bring red state Indiana to the Obama fold, moderate who appeals to working class voters. Cons – unexciting and dull, little known outside of Senate or Indiana, voted for Iraq War, doesn’t bring enough “experience to the ticket. Odds: 7-1.

Tim Kaine. Governor from Virginia. Pros – Young, handsome, “up and coming? Democrat, could bring red state Virginia to the Obama fold, moderate who appeals to working class voters, proven vote getter who re-built Democratic Party in Virginia. Cons – little known outside of Senate or Virginia, doesn’t bring enough “experience to the ticket, too moderate for red meat liberals? Odds: 5-1.

Joe Biden. Long-time Senator from Delaware, former presidential candidate. Pros – Articulate, feisty, with lots of foreign policy experience. Appeals to working class voters, could easily fill attack-dog veep role, most easily counters Obama’s weaknesses. Cons – gaffe prone, doesn’t easily fit Obama’s change message, voted for Iraq war (reluctantly), Delaware not really a battleground or big state. Odds: 3-1

Kathleen Sebelieus. Former Republican now Democrat Governor of Kansas. Pros – Could bring more women supporter to Obama, fits with Obama’s change message, could appeal to independents and moderate republican. Cons – Probably doesn’t deliver Kansas and wouldn’t matter if she did, does her selection piss off Clinton supporters? Too moderate for liberals and lefties. Odds: 10-1

Bill Richardson. Governor of New Mexico, former presidential candidate. Pros – Could bring Hispanics to the ticket, puts SW states (NM, Nevada, Colorado) into Obama reach, fits with Obama’s change message, lots of government experience. Cons – Not the greatest campaigner, Too much change will America vote for two brown faces? Whispers of about adultery in the pass. Odds: 15-1.

Al Gore. Former Vice President, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Oscar Winner. Pros – Rock star qualities, appeals to many voters, including those guilty about their 2000 vote, brings lots of experience to the ticket. Cons – Second only to Hilary Clinton as the candidate to rally conservatives against Obama, does he overshadow Obama. Former considered “stiff? has he shaken that image. Odds: 50-1.

If Obama wants to pick between Bayh and Kaine, he should go with Kaine as there is more electoral upside with Kaine. My money is on Joe Biden. I thought he was a week presidential candidate but he makes for an intriguing vice presidential candidate. Biden would be generally well received (not so much on far left), and would be pretty good on the campaign trail, but not without a crazy day here or there. Don’t count out a “surprise? candidate not on the list. What’s your thought, who do you think Obama should/will pick?

August 12, 2008

John Edwards and the late, not-so-great Hilary Campaign


So Johnny “Ken Doll? Edwards was bangin’ his videographer. But it’s o.k. his wife was in remission from cancer when it happened. I don’t who care who Edwards nails, just don’t do it if you’re gonna run for president. Just think how crazy this past weekend would have been if Edwards was the Democratic nominee? He could’ve sunk any chance of Democrats picking up the White House. Sheez, what a self-centered jerk.

Now a spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign has said that if news of Edwards affair had come out before the Iowa Caucus’ Hilary would be the nominee. It so easy to play the “what if? game but here are some pretty well known facts that greatly contributed to Hilary losing the nomination, a contest in which she started out with all the advantages:

1. She didn’t take Obama seriously until too late.
2. Positioned herself as the “experience? candidate when Americans clearly wanted “change?
3. Had no strategy for after Super Tuesday
4. Had no strategy to gain delegates in large caucus states
5. Blew through $100 million dollars by the time of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests and was basically broke the rest of the campaign.

There is an absolutely fascinating article in the Atlantic that shows how ineptitude, internal strife, and indecision drove the Hilary campaign to its ultimate fate. Click here for the link. For someone who said she was ready to lead from day 1, the suckiness Clinton and her top aides brought to the campaign seriously makes me question whether or not she would have made a good, even competent president. Sorry John Edwards had nothing to do with your loss Hilary, all you need to do is look in the mirror.

July 8, 2008

Jesse Helms - Good Riddance!!

jese.jpg

Jesse Helms died this past week and while I feel sorry for his family I feel no remorse for his passing. You see Jesse Helms was an avowed racists and used his position of power to push his racist views. Among other things, Helms was an strong believer in black intellectual inferiority, an hysterical opponent of interracial marriage, called the 1964 Civil Rights Act "the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress," and said of civil rights demonstrators, "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights." Helms' "vision" of civil rights for African-Americans was that there should be none.

Want to read more about Helm’s odious views? Click Here.

What concerns me is that the obituaries and commentary over Helm’s passing whitewashed over these views. Reading about Helms over the weekend and you’d never even know that he was a white supremacist and, unlike George Wallace or even Strom Thurmond, maintained those view until the bitter end. Have we gone so far down the road of political correctness that we can’t even call out someone who held and promoted views that are embraced by only a few far right cranks and dead-enders?

So long Jesse Helms, don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you pass through the gates of hell.

June 12, 2008

Why I Support Obama

so-cool.jpg

Last week I promised that I would explain why I support Barack Obama and will be voting for him this coming November. The intent is to hopefully convince those people who aren’t necessarily Democrat or Republican but vote for the best person out there, regardless of party. Let’s face it, that describes a whole lot of the electorate -- many of whom are not enamored with John McCain and are intrigued by Obama but are worried that Obama doesn’t have the experience to handle the job. Reasonable concerns I admit.

First my support for Obama does have partisan intentions. I typically vote Democratic (but not always) and I would like to see the Republican Party, as currently configured, assigned to the dust bin of history. Obama promises a 50-state strategy that, if pulled off, could literally make the Republicans a niche party of racist southerners, uneducated Appalachians, and assorted cranks, conspiracists, and Fox News blowhards. There is a left-of-center political re-alignment that is just ready to flower and Obama can help make that happen.

Admittedly that reasoning isn’t going to assure fence sitters, moderates, and just-kicking-the-tires former Republicans. So I offer this: I believe that Obama promises to be a transformative President in our Country’s history. One of the strongest images we send to the world is our moral standing. The crux of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence -- offering equality for everyone, freedom of speech and religion, the opportunity to do what you want -- is still the beacon for most of Earth’s population. That image has been sullied in the past, more so recently. By electing a half-black man with a funny sounding Muslim name, we are telling the world that we still live by those ideals and that if someone like that can be elected to the most powerful position in the world then the America truly is that shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan spoke of so eloquently. Our standing on the world stage will increase precipitously.

Now I am sure some of you are thinking who cares about “transformative President? What I want to know is if Obama can stand up to some tin pot dictator in Iran or a Russian thug like Vladimir Putin. I argue yes. First Obama just went head-to-head and beat the most formidable candidate for president in a generation. I know it was the Democratic primary but the Clintons play presidential politics to win and Obama stood up to them and won. I have a feeling that facing someone like the Junta in Myanmar or some world leader wannabe in Venezuela will be peanuts compared to Hilary Rodham Clinton and her desire to be president.

Furthermore I like the response Obama is giving in light of some of the criticisms that Democrats typically face. When confronted with the charge that his policies and positions “don’t support the troops? instead trying to look tough and out “military? his critics, Obama correctly points out that supporting the troops means more than a yellow ribbon on the back of a SUV. It means having a war policy that is well thought out, with troops that are properly equipped and given a mission that they can accomplish. It means treating those troops who have been injured with respect and dignity. Obama has been his own man when facing criticisms of his policies. There is no reason to believe he won’t be his own man when representing the Country abroad or against internal special interests.

Other arguments against Obama has been his lack of experience. Unfortunately the results of those who have had experience in government does not make one rally around the experience card. All would admit that Governor Pawlenty has had years of experience prior to becoming Governor. Why then could he not understand that you need money to maintain bridges and roads or they will fall apart? Many of the people who planned the Iraq War had years and years of governmental and military experience. Washington D.C. is littered with failed policies developed by politicians who have had years of experience. It think what is more important is what kind of experience you’ve had and how you use it, and how willing you are to change your assumptions based on new information -- not that you’ve put in a certain amount of years. All indications point to Obama having this kind of experience. Finally, the economy is probably the single greatest issue facing our next President. John McCain has admitted that he hasn’t spent much time thinking about economic issues during his 20 plus years in Washington. I am not sure Americans can afford someone who has demonstrated disinterest in such an important issue.

There are many other aspects of Obama’s background and governing style that make him a much better candidate than John McCain. His understanding of technology and how it is used in modern life is in a different galaxy than that of McCain’s -- who admits he doesn’t use e-mail, the internet, etc. Obama also has an opportunity to be a positive roll model for black males, which would be a huge improvement over self-absorbed professional athletes and misogynist rap stars that are typically looked up to as heroes. Obama’s policies and inclinations toward health care, global warming, fair taxes, the economy, and rights for women and homosexuals are more in line with what mainstream Americans think than those of John McCain and the Republicans. Finally, although an inspirational speaking style does not necessarily make for good policies, it will be nice to have a leader who is articulate, can speak in cogent sentences, who can make an argument that uses logic and rationality rather than fear and spin to persuade and inspire.

There it is, that’s my argument for Barack Hussein Obama. What do you think? Who are you supporting and why?

June 10, 2008

The McCain Girls - Back and Better than ever!!

It's been a while since we heard from the McCain Girls. But don't worry, they are back. And the production values just. keep. on. getting. better.

If you want to see a footless flag waving cyborg John McCain, click below:

June 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

so-cool.jpg

Finally, it's over with Barack Obama the nominee. I thought the three speeches last night were a fantastic study in contrast and could actually be taught in classes of political persuasion.

First McCain was just awful. In front of some lime green screen in a high school gymnasium with about 200 obviously bused in supporters. It was old, it was tired, it was zzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, fell asleep just thinking about it. The speech was bad enough on its own but then compared to BHO, it was dreadful. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have McCain give a speech right before Obama should be fired.

Hilary, oh Hilary. Why does it always have to be about you? Her speech was petulant, it was small. It was all me, me, me. It was even condescending. She's directing people to her web site so that they will send her more money. She doesn't congratulate Obama, she still claims she is the popular vote winner (which is false btw). Fine don't concede just yet but at least have a little bit of grace and humility, class even. If you didn't think this race was about Hilary only and not what is best for the Democratic Party or the country, I don't see how you could hold that same view after watching that classless speech.

Having the bar lowered practically to the ground, it didn't take much for OHB to shine, and he didn't disappoint. Right from the beginning with Michelle, who gave him a little fist bump and thumbs-up, Barry had the crowd. What was nice was that it wasn't about Obama. It was about us. He took it to McCain also, not just pointing out McCain's flaws and closeness to Bush but also contrasted against 2000 McCain. Reminding us that not only will McCain be tied to W, but also to a former, more pure version of himself. The speech ended on a rousing note with the crowd:

...if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment–this was the time–when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

UPDATE: Here's a pretty good recap by someone who was there.

Wow. Now that is a speech. Any way the prelims are over. Let's get to the main event!

May 13, 2008

T-Paw Not Getting Any

First-Lady-3-Red_R09122005_-thumb.jpg

Over the weekend, Governor Pawlenty had this to say about his wife Mary:

"I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish. I mean, she will take the lead and ask me to go out fishing, and joyfully comes here. She loves football, she'll go to hockey games, and I jokingly say, 'Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me I'd really have it made.''"

Now T-Paw does and says nothing without thinking of the political ramifications. So what was the reason for calling out his wife on the radio? A couple of thoughts:

1. He's telling other 40-something men who have been married for years and also not getting any that "I'm just like you." Thus generating sympathy and more importantly, votes.

2. Signaling to the Republican elite in Washington, many of who are either having sex with boys or with someone other than their for-show-only wives: "I'm not doing my wife either, if chosen as VP I'll be just like you!"

3. Telling anti-feminist voters: When my wife doesn't put out in the bedroom, I just don't whine about it in private. I whine about it publicly on the radio, because I'm a real man, I don't let women push me around.

UPDATE: Here's a link with a chance to hear the audio:

May 7, 2008

It's Over!

Obama-Surf.jpg

After last night’s decisive win in North Carolina and oh so close loss in Indiana, Barack Obama has basically, finally, sewn up the nomination. There really is no way Senator Clinton can win. You heard it in her speech last night, you saw it in Bill and Chelsea’s face. Now word has come out that Clinton has canceled all her public appearances today and that the Clinton’s loaned their campaign another $6.4 million for the North Carolina and Indiana campaigns. Very doubtful more money is going to come in.

As this sinks in I am sure in the next few days we will see more superdelegates pledge support to Obama. I am not sure if we will see a concession this week, but it is coming, What would be really cool is if Clinton was to endorse Obama Barack and then for them both to go on a unity tour of sorts through the remaining primary states, including Michigan and Florida. Their campaigning together would be important for a couple of reasons. It would prove to skeptics that both candidates are devoted to unifying the party against John McCain and it would help soothe over the anti-Barack sentiment among the Clinton supporters. Finally it would allow the last few states the opportunity to see the candidates in person and to build on the excitement this primary has inspired. Maybe Obama could sweeten the deal by using his mega-bucks to retire Clinton’s campaign debt.

That may be wishful thinking especially considering that we are talking about Democrats here but the bottom line is the campaign is over, Obama won, and now it is time to focus on Senator John McCain.

In honor of Obama’s win, here’s a video showing that Barack’s got game. Enjoy!


April 24, 2008

Another Bridge Closed

Bridge.JPG

Further evidence of Republican dis-investment in the State came to light today as Hennepin Co. announced that the Lowry Avenue Bridge will be closed (the 2nd bridge in a month over the Mississippi River). I guess we should take comfort in the fact that the State is closing bridges before we get this again:

BridgeCollapse1.jpg

If the I-35 bridge wasn't proof enough, clearly the lack of $$$ for transportation improvements is coming home to roost. I think we should have Governor Pawlenty, former Legislator Phil Krinkie, and members of the Taxpayers League drive over the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings every day as punishment.

April 16, 2008

John McCain Fails Econ 101

BridgeCollapse1.jpg

Senator John McCain has proposed that we have a gas tax holiday over the summer. By saving 18.4 cents per gallon, the Senator seems to think that it would help the economy. But let's look a little closer:

1. No federal excise tax on gasoline would encourage consumption, meaning more demand on gasoline. My Econ 101 prof (Walter Heller btw) told me when demand goes up, costs go up.

2. Since we don't produce a whole lot of oil in this country, then we would need to import more oil. Doesn't seem right to add more $$$ to places like Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran does it?

3. The federal excise tax on gas goes for things like roads and bridges. I seem to remember that we have a huge need to build and repair our roads and bridges. Plus it's people who build and repair roads and bridges, how will those JOBS be replaced?

We know Senator McCain has stated that he's not a great economics mind -- I guess he wasn't kidding. Me thinks this proposal has more to do with making a quick, popular-on-its-face statement and not a serious policy proposal. Can't wait for more "straight talk" from the Senator.

Don't believe me? Check out what this conservative economist blogger thinks.

April 8, 2008

McCain Girls - They're Back!!

I know you were waiting for the next installment, don't worry, they don't disappoint...

We get It - TPaw doesn't like transit

LRT.jpg

Do you see a pattern here:

Central Corridor LRT -- $70,000,000
High Speed Rail St. Paul to Chicago -- $4,000,000
Southeast Express -- $500,000
Bottineau Corridor Transitway - $500,000
1-94 Corridor Transitway - $750,000
I-494 Corridor Transitway - $500,000
Red Rock Corridor Transitway - $500,000
Robert Street Corridor Transitway - $500,000
Rush Line Corridor Transitway - $500,000
Southwest Corridor Transitway - $500,000

Those are all the transit projects line item vetoed by Governor Pawlenty yesterday. What I don't understand is that the Hiawatha Corridor has been considered a nice success. Ridership is higher than anticipated by the doom and gloomers (I'm looking at you Tax Payers League) and with gas soon to reach $4.00 a gallon, public transit is going to become a more important component of a multi-modal transportation system that should include resources for cars, buses, trains, bikes, and walking. By vetoing money for transit we are going to keep the Minneapolis-St. Paul area mired in lousy highways and greenhouse gas-spewing automobiles. For a Republican who is generally on the good side of global warming issues, I am surprised by T-Paw's total lack of support of any future public transit for the State of Minnesota.

Nice example of leadership, you'll go far in Washington, D.C.

March 24, 2008

It's Raining McCain

I just had to share this. It is absolutely incredible. I think this is what Republicans think of as hip.

As for the past weekend, 12 of my Sweet 16 teams made it and besides Georgetown going to the Final Four, I think I'm in good shape. I'm tied for first in one bracket don't know the standings yet in another.

Gophers women BBers ran into a team that was just too athletic. Gopher wrestlers gave up their national champ crown, Gopher pucksters rode Alex Kangas to a 3 seed in the NCAA's and today word is that the Go Go Gomez era has just begun for the Twins. More on the last two items later this week.

March 18, 2008

Dick Cheney: Angel of Doom

cheney_doom.jpg

Dick Cheney was in Iraq yesterday and said that the war in Iraq was a “..successful endeavor ... and it has been well worth the effort.? Also yesterday in Iraq there was the following:

• Five persons were killed and 12 others injured when mortar shells hit a football play ground in eastern Baghdad...

• A female suicide bomber attacked a group of Shiite worshippers near a mosque in Karbala on Monday, killing at least 39 people and wounding 51...

• A roadside bomb killed two U.S. soldiers when it struck their vehicle in a district north of Baghdad...

• A minibus packed with explosives killed three people and wounded eight others in Karrada district...

• A roadside bomb killed one policeman and wounded another as they patrolled Mansour district in western Baghdad...

• Three bodies of U.S.-backed neighbourhood police were found two days after they were kidnapped in the town of Udhaim...

• ...police said they found the bodies of three members of a U.S.-allied group fighting al-Qaida in Udaim...

• A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. convoy injured four civilians in Baghdad...

Just think what kind of shape Iraq would have been had the war not been a “successful endeavor??

March 5, 2008

Hilary!

hilbama.jpg

For supporters of Barack Obama, last night was suppose to be the night. When finally it became inevitable and Hilary Clinton would have to throw in the towel. After winning Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island, obviously she’s in for the long haul, alas.

Technically it looks like HRC is only going to net about 10 delegates meaning that Obama has a 100 plus delegate lead with a number of upcoming states also looking good. But this take glosses over the fact that momentum counts in politics. One can legitimately ask can Obama close the deal? Will it get too negative? Will reporters get to go to more ass kissing bbq’s with John McCain?

While I think Hilary Clinton would be a much better president than John McCain and I have to admit that she can be quite charming and funny when she wants to be, I’d still rather see Obama as president. I just feel like there’s too much baggage associated with the Clintons and that she has surrounded herself with too many insiders who are dependent upon the wretched status quo of the D.C. muck. I don’t want a Democratic version of George W. Bush, Clinton hasn’t convinced me that she would be a different kind of president.

Anyway looks like we have 7 more weeks to figure it out. In some respects its good, we will get too know our candidates and building up a democratic organization is a good thing. Let’s just hope the D’s don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory come this November.

One interesting note from the Texas Primary: More people voted in the Texas primary on Tuesday than voted for John Kerry in 2004. That bodes well for November, regardless of the candidate.

February 13, 2008

Potomac Primary Sweep

Obama-Surf.jpg

Wow. Most thought that Obama would sweep the primary states of Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. But to win by nearly 30 points in Virginia and Marland, 50 points in DC? Only the most wild-eyed Obama supporter would have suggested that. Clinton is clearly on the ropes and needs something to quickly change the dynamic of this race.

What has to get the Hillary supporters nervous is that in Virginia and Maryland Obama won constituencies that previously belonged to Clinton, including those making less than $50,000, older people, and Latinos. I read something interesting last night that suggested that lower income and lesser educated voters tend to process election information much later than highly educated, higher income people. Therefore, the lower income people, who have been the backbone of Clinton’s support, first voted for Clinton but as they become better acquainted with Obama, his share of that vote will go up. Not sure if this is true or not but if it is, Clinton is in big trouble. The Wisconsin results next Tuesday will be another test of this theory.

Also in Obama’s speech last night he turned his focus to John McCain as if Obama was the presumptive nominee and is looking ahead to the November election. Of course there is always the danger of looking too far ahead but a Obama-McCain back-and-forth could shunt Clinton to the sidelines. However, the McCain people couldn’t have been too pleased when the news channels went from Obama’s speech to McCain’s. Obama was animated, inspiring, the crowd behind him was a mix of young and old, black and white, men and women. McCain’s speech was somnambular and behind him were a bunch of old white fossils, including Senator John Warner who looked like they just picked up from the morgue. Talk about the future v. the past.

Finally I know it’s not valid to compare primary vote counts to general election vote counts but Tuesday’s results once again shows a definite “enthusiasm gap? between the democrats and republicans. Democrats received twice as many votes as republicans in a bedrock (but changing) red state like Virginia. Obama received more votes than all the republican votes combined and Clinton received a 100,000 more votes than McCain. If the Democrats can keep their supporters this charged up, we are looking at some big wins come November.

February 7, 2008

Super Tuesday Wrap-up

mccain_bush_hug_713122.jpg

If I was a true blogger, I would have had my analysis of the Super Tuesday results posted bright and early Wednesday morning. Alas Thursday lunch is the best I can do. With Mitt Romney dropping out today, it’s more than apparent that McCain is going to be the Republican nominee. Careful what you wish for Republicans… you just might get it.

Also obviously the democratic results were a mixed bag with the vote and delegate totals fractions of a percentage apart from each other. Obama won more states, Clinton won bigger states. What this means is that the two candidates are basically tied. However Obama has the perceived momentum as not even a month ago Clinton was ahead everywhere. That’s not the case now. Also the February states favors Obama. We should see a slow but steady pulling away from Clinton between now and early March. Finally there are a couple of really big, important states at the tail end of this process: Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Right now Clinton looks like she is ahead in those states. I think Obama has to show that he can win a big state in order to close the deal.

I also wanted to point out vote totals and party enthusiasm. In Minnesota, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by over 3-1 in caucus participation. If you don’t think that scares the bejesus out of Senator Coleman, you’re not paying attention. What’s real interesting is that D’s outvoted R’s in almost every state on Tuesday, including some staunchly red states like Tennessee (100,000 more D’s than R’s), Georgia and even Oklahoma! Obama got 75,000 more votes than Huckabee in Alabama and Obama got more votes than McCain in Oklahoma. Republican strategists looked at these numbers and just cringe. Explains why we are seeing so many retirements on that side of the aisle.

I think Obama v. McCain would be a landslide of epic proportions. I also think Clinton would beat McCain but with a little more blood, sweat, and tears shed along the way. Don’t get caught up in the number crunching that Obama doesn’t do as well with Latinos as Clinton; Clinton doesn’t do as well with white men as Obama, etc. For the most part Democrats are happy with either candidate and will gladly and enthusiastically vote for either candidate this coming November.

What’s your take?

November 13, 2007

Is the Death Penalty Dead?

sparky.jpg

There has always been a huge problem with the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment in the United States. Even if one wasn’t morally opposed to the death penalty (me), pervasive problems with the use or lack of use of DNA evidence, racial disparity in death sentences, the competency of capital-case public defenders, and overzealous prosecutors should have caused even the most hardened pro-death penalty advocate to pause in their support.

There is an excellent article in slate.com (link) describing how a case soon to be heard at the Supreme Court has basically shut down the use of executions in this country (October was the first month in three years with no executions). I really encourage you to read the entire article regardless of your stance on the death penalty. As the article states in its closing: “One shouldn't have to be opposed to the death penalty, be soft on criminals, or be a liberal crybaby to insist that procedures that are hopelessly outdated and medically suspect be fixed.?

The use of the death penalty is abhorent to me. If it takes a re-examination of how we administer executions in this county to stop the death penalty great, I'll take it.

October 31, 2007

Republican Party's Slow Death

Earlier this week I got into a little snit with some conservatives on the What Jeff Thinks Blog and I thought it deserved further consideration here.

My basic premise is that the Republican party is fast becoming a marginalized, geographically-based (deep south) niche party. Polls on a broad spectrum of issues from stem cell research, the war in Iraq, global warming, the use of torture, attitudes toward gays, (short of gay marriage), attitudes towards minorities, the economy, tax fairness all favor the stand of the Democratic party and liberals in general. This trend is also being demonstrated in dollars raised for the 2008 election. Democratic candidates from President down to dog catcher are far outraising Republican candidates and it looks like Democrats will have a decidedly large money advantage for 2008. First time that has happened in a long time.

It’s not only the issues but voting blocs as well that favor Democrats. Young voters are increasingly coming home to the Democratic party. Even though young voters don’t make up a huge part of the electorate, as was demonstrated in the early 1980’s with Ronald Reagan, once a party loses the youth vote, they’ve lost a whole generation of voters. Growing minority factions of the population are also rejecting the Republican message and look for the Democrats to capture huge swaths of the Hispanic and African American electorate. Even the Evangelical vote is becoming splintered, with 2004 probably the high water mark for Christians voting decidedly with one party.

No where is this trend more identifiable than with the issue of Global Warming. By now most of not all credible scientists believe that some sort of global warming is occurring and that it is created by man and not caused by a naturally occurring global weather cycle. Most Republicans are still hung up on Al Gore being the person most identifiable with the issue of Global Warming and continue to stick their fingers in their ears and shout anyone down with AL GORE INVENTED THE INTERNET, THEREFORE GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT TRUE!! They insist on pointing to some 40 errors in the movie Inconvenient Truth, ignoring the fact that that means there are literally 100’s of other facts presented in the movie that are indisputable. The American population is fast leaving the Republican party behind on this issue.

However, there may be hope for the Republicans. Governor Tim Pawlenty is a politician that I don’t care for. However I have to acknowledge that he is an extremely smart and savvy politician. He can take issues that he knows may not be palatable to the general population and describe them in a way that sound reasonable. The fact that T-Paw is starting to embrace the Global Warming issue, going so far as scheduling a visit to the polar ice cap with adventurer Will Steger, shows that he understands that Global Warming is an issue that will impact us all, conservative, liberal, independent. It will be interested to see when his Republican brethren follow. I won’t be holding my breath.

October 25, 2007

It's Been Five (long) Years

charlie and Paul.jpg

Five years ago today (10/25) Paul Wellstone along with his wife and daughter and some staff members died in a plane crash. It was absolutely shocking at the time and I still remember vividly at the time telling my friend Bill about the news flash and then the both of us listening to the radio to get the sad details.

I was absolutely devastated at the news. Although I knew first hand that Paul Wellstone wasn't the greatest Senator - he liked the spotlight more than doing the nitty gritty of Senate work -- but he was a breath of fresh air in a world of self-important, poll-following haircuts that currently over populate Washington D.C. (I'm looking at you Norm Coleman).

Here is a poem that I wrote that night 5 years ago. Time has made it pretty sappy but it the time it helped me deal with my grief, so at danger of looking a little too mauldlin, here goes.

Paul Wellstone's Voice

Paul Wellstone's voice was quiet today
Silenced in the woods and bogs of Minnesota
But it rings in our ears and passes through our hearts
Until it slips unrestrained into our souls.

Paul Wellstone's voice was quiet today
Drowned out by tributes, eulogies, and tears
But it echoes in the minds of those who sow fear
Through cynicism and obstruction.

Paul Wellstone's voice was quiet today
Stilled too sudden and too soon
But it clamors for attention, requires our action
As we arise, staggered from the loss.

Paul Wellstone's voice was quiet today
Called home by God with his wife and daughter
But it demands all those who heard its words
To shout its resolve and heed its passion.

Paul Wellstone's voice was quiet today....

August 16, 2007

Who's to Blame?

BridgeCollapse1.jpg

It’s been over two weeks since the I-35W bridge collapse and even though four bodies have yet to be recovered, questions of whose to blame for the collapse have swirled around the twisted metal and crumbled concrete remains of the bridge since the hours after the bridge fell into the Mississippi River.

The City Pages had a real good article on the culpable parties earlier this week and you can read it here. I have found it interesting that groups like The Taxpayers League and Republicans covering for the Governor say it’s not fair to assign blame, especially in light of the fact that there is still a recovery going on. Typically those who don’t want blame to be assigned get on that particular high horse because they know they will bear the brunt of the blame.

Obviously the Governor and especially the Lieutenant Governor/MnDOT Commissioner deserve part of the blame. Vetoing two gas tax increases and a modest infrastructure bonding bill in the last couple of years, while not preventing the 35W bridge collapse, signaled that they didn’t take the State’s crumbling infrastructure needs seriously. The Taxpayer League with their dooming and glooming about the impact of increased taxes obscure the fact that maintaining what we have costs money.

In the end it us the taxpayers and voters of this state who deserve the blame. We accepted the no new taxes mantra because it saved us a couple of bucks from our wallets. We demanded from our elected officials new and better projects while turning our back on the fact that we have to take care of what we already have. It is us who winked back at the politicians when they said we can have everything and it won’t cost any more money.

So blame the Governor, Washington bureaucrats, the No New Taxes crowd for the collapse -- they most certainly deserve it -- but in this case the three fingers pointing back at you are equally deserved.

May 1, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

APmission.jpg

It's been 4 years since GW has said that combat operations in Iraq are over. Oops. I however place more blame on the press for falling down on the job for this ugly war, although admittedly the President is chin deep in his own incompetence and falsehoods. Last week Bill Moyers had a special on how fawning and uncritical the press was in the lead-up to the war. It can be watched here and is quite damning.

Want more proof of the press' culpability in selling this war? Below is cartoon from Tom Tomorrow and all the quotes are true. What is really sad is that most if not all these "pundits" are still on the job mouthing bromides for the Bush Administration. Sad. Really Sad.

fouryearslater1.jpg

If the above is too small to read, it can be viewed here.

March 29, 2007

Progress in Iraq?

iraq.bmp

George W. Bush, March 20, 2006: "I'm going to tell you the story of a northern Iraqi city called Tal Afar, which was once a key base of operations for al Qaeda and is today a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq ... If you're a resident of Tal Afar today, this is what you're going to see: You see that the terrorist who once exercised brutal control over every aspect of your city has been killed or captured, or driven out, or put on the run. You see your children going to school and playing safely in the streets. You see the electricity and water service restored throughout the city. You see a police force that better reflects the ethnic and religious diversity of the communities they patrol. You see markets opening, and you hear the sound of construction equipment as buildings go up and homes are remade. In short, you see a city that is coming back to life."

News report, March 29, 2007: "Shiite militants and police enraged by deadly truck bombings went on a shooting rampage against Sunnis in a northwestern Iraqi city Wednesday, killing up to 70 men execution-style and prompting fears that sectarian violence was spreading outside the capital. The killings occurred in the mixed Shiite-Sunni city of Tal Afar ... The gunmen roamed Sunni neighborhoods in Tal Afar through the night, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician. Witnesses said relatives of the Shiite victims in the truck bombings broke into Sunni homes and killed the men inside or dragged them out and shot them in the streets. Gen. Khourshid al-Douski, the Iraqi army commander in charge of the area, said 70 were shot in the back of the head and 40 people were kidnapped."

November 6, 2006

VOTE!!!!!!

bush.bmp


I usually don't comment too much on politics on this site as there are plenty of sites that do that nationally and locally. That doesn't mean I don't care about poltics, in fact it's the opposite and I check out many political blogs, both from the left and right.

I have really gotten a kick in the last few days visiting conservative local blogs. The amount of denial they are in is simply a site to behold. Many conservative blogs actually believe what their Dear Leader and henchmen say publicly: the Republicans are fired up and all the pundits who are predicting a big democratic party win on Tuesday are just smoking crack.. or words to that effect. I have made comments on these blogs pointing out the error of their ways and look forward to Wednesday when I can tell them "I told you so." One particulary nasty blog is called the Kool Aid Report (no link, find it for yourself), which in typical fashion, chose to slime me as opposed to actually address the point I made. Here's KAR's retort to my comment that I thought Howard Dean as DNC Chair was suppose to be a disaster for the Dems:

"College blog commenters are just so awesome! If they spent more time on their studies they wouldn't be so stupid. Yes, I'm talking to you DEC I'm worried your reading comprehension is so far in the pits you won't be able to figure this post out."

Classy. Should be fun to read the ruminations on these blogs over the next few days.

Any way, here are my Monday night election predictions, not who I'm voting for but who I think will win.

Hatch - Gov
Swanson - AG
Ritchie - SoS
CD 1 - Walz
CD 2 - Kline
CD 5 - Ellison (over 50%)
CD 6 - Bachmann
Sen - Klobuchar

Dems pick up 30 seats in House
Dems pick up 6 seats in Senate

What's your prediction?

October 20, 2006

Friday Random Top 10

Sorry, haven't blogged much lately, I've got a couple of good entries coming up so stay tuned. Anyway, here it is! In the tradition of American Idle and Rox Pop, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Babylon's Burning - The Ruts
2. Senior Service - Elvis Costello
3. The Loner - Neil Young
4. Hesitating Beauty - Billy Bragg and Wilco
5. I'm Set Free - Velvet Underground
6. Chesley's Little Wrists - Pavement
7. Do I Make Myself Clear - Etta James
8. Party Stomp - Gear Daddies
9. She Ain't Got the Beat - The Blasters
10. Pleaseure Seeker - Social Distortion

Favorite song this week? God Walks Among Us Now by the Flaming Lips. Quintessential Flaming Lips song, screaming, swirling guitars, weird lyrics, singing through a megaphone. Play this one real loud!

What's your top ten?

October 6, 2006

No Comment Necessary

bush foley.jpg

September 13, 2006

Primary Results

As predicted, no Twins ballpark supporter came even close to being toppled in yesterday's primary election and it looks like all who supported a ballpark will roll to easy victory in November. Since it is extremely rare that a politician is booted out of office for supporting public subsidy of a stadium, it should come as no surprise. Let's hope the ballpark whiners can now just sit back and enjoy what promises to be a fantastic finish to this year's Twins baseball season.

In other primary news, it looks like the 5th Congressional District will be represented by a Black Muslim. Back in May or June, I opined that there should be a primary for the 5th CD seat. I thought that it wasn’t right for 119 party
activist to speak for over 350,000 voters on who our Representative in Congress should be. Even though I was favoring the endorsed candidate, I was still hoping we would have a Primary. Campaigns can tell us a lot about a candidate…how they face adversity, how well they can speak to different groups of people, how much money they can raise (unfortunately important these days). Given the fact that realistically, in the 5th CD, the winner of the DFL primary was going to D.C., I wasn’t worried that a Primary would “tear the party apart? and that it would open the door for a Republican to win.

Well careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Unfortunately these past few months, we heard more about Ellison’s parking tickets than his policy stands. I didn’t take the stand that these peripheral issue shouldn’t be talked about, they should, especially given the number of tickets and the campaign finance fines. It does reflect on
Keith Ellison and the way he has conducted himself. But it shouldn’t have been the only or deciding issue.

keith.jpg

What we have also learned about Keith Ellison is that he is passionate, curious, a hard worker, someone who represents his constituents to the fullest. He’s willing to look at all sides of an issue and he’s willing to roll up his sleeves and craft a solution to the problems facing his district. Many supporters have compared him to Paul
Wellstone, however, I have found that while he is a passionate as Wellstone, Ellison also is willing to engage in the hard work of “legislating.? (Something Wellstone, bless his soul, didn’t spend a lot of time doing).

Given the vanilla safeness of the other candidates, I wasn't surprised that some took the easy route and voted for one of other candidates. My wife, for instance, voted for Ember based solely on the fact that ERY was a woman. However, It's apparent that a plurality of voters wanted a vibrant, hard-working, passionate voice representing Minnesota’s 5th District, someone who is inspirational AND gets things done.

Now in the next 50-some days the Republicans are going to lie, exaggerate, and smear Keith Ellison. They are going to say he's anti-woman, anti-jew, supports the terrorists. Don't believe it for a second. Their efforts have nothing to do with Keith Ellison, they know he's going to win -- the 5th CD is too overwhelmingly Democratic for that not to happen. What the Republicans do hope to accomplish is to tamper enthusiasm, suppress the vote, so that liberals, Democrats, and progressives, don't come to the polls and don't vote for the DFL candidates for Senator and Governor. Let's not let them get away with it.