July 07, 2006

Blogswarm The Patricians

UPDATE 7/7 AND BUMP: Will start posting the blogswarm on Monday.

UPDATE 7/3 AND BUMP: Will update the group assignments later today or tomorrow. Vacation calls.

UPDATE 6/29 AND BUMP: More of the groups are going out. I've updated who's taken what in the list (the names in parens).

If you sent me an email but don't see your name on the list, try me again - or just leave a comment. My copy of Thunderbird is acting weird...

UPDATE AND BUMP: I've been buried at work - but am working on it. I'll update the list of who's taken whom shortly here. We have some people working out there that are doing a TON of work.

We have half the group covered; feel free to leave a comment or send an email to claim one of the other eight groups!

More tomorrow (Thursday, 6/29) on the plan.


I'd like to try to start my first blogswarm, here.

The idea actually came from longtime commenters Thorley Winston and Lady Logician, in the comment section to the previous posting. Here's what I'd like to do: do a research blogswarm on the 203 Minnesotans who signed the "Happy To Bend Over For The Budget" "We Can Afford To Pay More For State Taxes" (PDF file) "open letter" to the Strib last week. The group pitches itself as a group of bipartisan citizens concerned for the state. I suspect otherwise.

So click on the Continue to see what we should do, here.

There are three steps to the process:

1. Pick a group of signees - I'm going to divide the 200 signatories into groups of 12-13, and identify the groups. Pick one (or more) of them. They will be noted below. I have taken one group, but may well tackle some m ore...

2. Do the research - Thorley Winston came up with a good format:

1) Name - If there is a website with a profile (candidate, employer’s site) of the person, please provide a link to it. Wikipedia works as well. Make sure you get the right person!

2) Occupation (job title, note if they are currently retired)

3) Employer (name of the organization INCLUDING non-profit organizations, provide a link to the organization site preferably one that goes directly to their profile) – I would be interested to see how many of these people work for the same organizations

4) Offices they have held and/or recently ran for

5) Affiliations with any “civic” or lobbying groups

Campaign Contribution Information (use as it is the most comprehensive and provide a link), the information that I think we should include is:

1) Total Dollar Amounts contributed (be sure to check, sometimes these sites double-count contributions and we should be as accurate as possible, when in doubt undercount). Go back as far as Newsmeat records (which I believe is 1996).

2) Note the percentage contributed to DFL versus GOP (some of the signatories may be former corporate executives who contributed to both parties)

3) Note any amounts for candidates who are running in 2006 even if for different offices (be sure to list any Republicans as well as DFLers) and provide the amounts to the candidate and their names

4) Also note if they contributed money to candidates running for office in other States

Use the usual sources:,, and of course Google, as well as any other information you come across. Since this is Minnesota, be careful about the names; make sure you're writing about the right person.

3. Publish What You Find - You can publish it on your blog (send me the link), or you can send me an email.

And that's it. Drop a comment, let me know the group you want to tackle.


OK - here are the groups of signatories. Please leave a comment, with your email and blog address if any, to "sign up" for a group of signatories. I'll update the list as I go.

  • Group 1 - Bob Anderson through Claudia Bornier (Thorley and Anonymous)
  • Group 2 - Arnold Brier through Richard W. Clarke. (Thorley and Anonymous)
  • Group 3 - Burt Cohen through Teresa Daly (Lady Logician and Anonymous)
  • Group 4 - Bruce Dayton through Lois Mary Dunlap (Lady Logician)
  • Group 5 - Amy Eilberg through Kristen Marttila Gast (Anti-Strib Crew)
  • Group 6 - Tom Gegax through Vernae Harsbargen (Anti-Strib Crew)
  • Group 7 - Bud Hayden through Kimberly Hunter (Freedom Dogs)
  • Group 8 - Linda Ireland through Tom Kayser (Freedom Dogs)
  • Group 9 - Thomas A. Keller III through Susan W. Lenfestey (M Berg)
  • Group 10 - Judy Lewis through Tom McBurney (M Berg)
  • Group 11 - Cheryl McHugh through John Morgan (Marty Andrade)
  • Group 12 - Allison Moyers through Karin Phillips
  • Group 13 - David Pinto through Mark Roloff
  • Group 14 - Jeanette M. Rupert through Jim Smart
  • Group 15 - Archie Smith through Ruth Usem
  • Group 16 - David Vealitzek through Julie Zelle
Let's see what kind of "Better Minnesota" they're "happy" to pay for...

Posted by Mitch at July 7, 2006 07:00 AM | TrackBack

I'll take groups 1 and 2 (since I've already started).

Just a couple of additional suggestions/words of caution.

1) When looking up the campaign contributions, double-check the occupation and zip code against the name in the profile. There may be several people with the same name and we don’t want to over-estimate their contributions.

2) Sometimes Newsmeat and Opensecrets may double count someone’s campaign contributions. Example John Doe gives a $1000 contribution to Mary Smith on December 16, 2004 and there are two contributions for that amount listed on that date. Also be careful of any contributions with a negative number in front of them (they still might get tallied as a positive number). It never hurts to use a calculator or spreadsheet to double check their math

3) I would also suggest noting if the signatory is the spouse of another signatory or a candidate for office.

Also when in doubt, present the facts in the way that is most favorable to the other side.

Posted by: Thorley Winston at June 26, 2006 04:54 PM

Wow... Some people have WAY too much time on their hands.

Posted by: Doug at June 26, 2006 06:16 PM

I'd recommend for contributions to state candidates. I look forward to the results, as I thought (for a brief moment) about doing this myself. Thanks, Mitch.

Posted by: minntelect at June 26, 2006 07:34 PM

Mitch - I'll take groups three and four and I'll see if I can get one of the lads from Savage Republican to take a group as well.

Posted by: The Lady Logician at June 26, 2006 10:23 PM

Hey, Doug;

How much time (converted to wage dollars) would it take me to buy that same ad?

Lots and lots, right?

So, maybe, this isn't out of line?

Or, as a WORKER, is my time inherently less valuable than that of a RICH PERSON?

(Man, you gotta get your party credentials in order. Remember? They're your oppressors and bestial enemies. They have BUCKS!)

Posted by: bobby_b at June 26, 2006 11:24 PM

"Wow... Some people have WAY too much time on their hands."

Like people who flood comment sections with inane diatribes and factless arguments?

Posted by: Brad at June 27, 2006 12:14 AM

You guys best tread lightly lest you incur the wrath of Laura Billings for daring to defame these noble citizens.

Posted by: the elder at June 27, 2006 09:39 AM

This sounds like a lot of work for what you will find - most of them are Democrats and give money to Democrats, probably not an earth shattering surprise. What you won't find is a single or even prevailing common thread - it's not like they're secret Masons or members of Skull and Bones.

Posted by: Golden at June 27, 2006 10:05 AM

I’ve finished going through the first two batches (25 in all) and will try to post them up later today when I have time. Just a couple of interesting things I found. Out of the first 25 signators:

12 were either “retired” or “homemakers” (including at least 2 attorneys)
4 were attorneys (2 partners, a sole proprietor, and an associate but all at different firms)
2 worked for non-profit organizations
1 was a physician
1 is a history professor at St John’s
1 is the publisher of “The Rake”
1 is a self-employed author
1 was a former DFL Party Chair and Hennepin County Commissioner who is an owner of as a PR consulting firm
1 is the principal at a company that specializes in meeting services for businesses
1 works as the director of customer support for a for-profit corporation

Posted by: Thorley Winston at June 27, 2006 10:11 AM

Dangerous subversives all, by the look of it!

Posted by: angryclown at June 27, 2006 10:15 AM

I guess 5 and 6 are open?

The Anti-Strib crue will take them.

Group 5 - Amy Eilberg through Kristen Marttila Gast
Group 6 - Tom Gegax through Vernae Harsbargen

Somehow I doubt that the left was thinking about things like this when they said "power to the People".

Posted by: Tracy at June 28, 2006 11:21 AM


Think of it as "speaking truth to power".

Posted by: Nordeaster at June 28, 2006 12:52 PM

Courage, Tracy. Courage.

Posted by: Kermit at June 28, 2006 01:04 PM

John Hetterick of Plymouth defended his signature in the Strib today.

John Hetterick is the former CEO of Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle.

You know, the ones who left the big, beautiful, heavily tax-subsidized plant in Belle Plaine sitting empty after going bankrupt.

I imagine E-H's creditors enjoy reading about all the excess cash Mr. Hetterick has laying around.

Posted by: mike at June 28, 2006 01:37 PM

Join the club Mitch....the worst part is the home life has been more hectic than the work life! I got one post up this afternoon and I hope to have the rest done later this evening.

Posted by: The Lady Logician at June 28, 2006 02:19 PM

Just find out their address for me, willya? Since they openly admit that they are not paying enough in taxes, I'm going to call the IRS tip line and collect a handsome reward on every one of 'em! :-)

Posted by: J. Ewing at June 28, 2006 03:25 PM

“John Hetterick is the former CEO of Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle.
You know, the ones who left the big, beautiful, heavily tax-subsidized plant in Belle Plaine sitting empty after going bankrupt.”

This is rather interesting for at least two reasons.

First, it strikes me as worth noting that at least one of the primary instigators of this petition (Jim Pohlad) received a rather generous taxpayer subsidy in the way of a taxpayer-supported Twin Stadium. How many of the wealthy “businessmen” who signed this petition calling for higher taxes on working people do you suppose will turn out to be the ones living on the corporate welfare bandwagon?

The other reason, former State Auditor and now Lt. Governor Candidate Judi Dutcher is listed as an advisor for this organization. Currently her running mate Mike Hatch is running on a platform of “fiscal responsibility” and “closing loopholes for the rich” rather than calling outright for tax increases. IIRC Judi Dutcher was the State Auditor when Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle was receiving its taxpayer subsidies from the State and one of the primary roles of the State Auditor is to serve as the fiscal watchdog when governments grants subsidies to businesses. It might be interesting to see if the watchdog was sleeping or barking when this was going on.

Posted by: Thorley Winston at June 28, 2006 03:35 PM

Obnoxious doesn't even begin to describe the sort of ass who lives a very comfortable life, which has been directly enhanced by taxpayer subsidies, calling for higher taxes. These people are no-good, bottom-dwelling, reptiles who would be shunned by a sensible society.

Posted by: Will Allen at June 28, 2006 08:51 PM

Hi Mitch? What a lovely concept! Perhaps too late for me to help, but I've been buried like you ;-)

Since you are so spectacular, would you mind me leaving a shameless plug for my rejuvinated blog.

AND AND AND! Remember Thursday Night. No support, no go.

Posted by: Paul Kuettel at June 29, 2006 02:20 AM

Mitch - I tried to send you a link to my posts to your comments (at) shotinthedark (dot) info and I got a delivery error stating that the mailbox was full!

Posted by: The Lady Logician at June 29, 2006 10:16 AM

Susan W. Lenfestey! Mitch, you planned on getting those moonbats. I look forward to a very detailed description (with no commentary TW) on the many tenacles of the Lenfestey clan.

I do think we are seeing the theme emerge, those that live off of government subsidies think more taxes are great.

Posted by: Tracy at June 29, 2006 11:06 AM

I don't understand. All you need is one republican to make it bipartisan, right? After all, isn't that what the conservatives always say when they get Lieberman or Nelson on their side? "This bill has Bi-partisan can't vote against it!"

Posted by: rew at July 7, 2006 02:01 PM

"All you need is one republican to make it bipartisan, right?"

There you go using logic again... Come on. Don't you know there are completely different standards if you claim to be a Rebublican?

Surely Mitch has realized by now that the entire point of this thread is, well, pointless.

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