There’s going to be a new “Minnesota” Poll tomorrow in the Strib.
Here are my fearless predictions; I predict a couple of things:
Despite the fact that actual, reputable polls show Tom Emmer inside the margin of error (despite having been outspent by a 16:1 margin so far in this campaign), the “Minnesota” Poll will show Emmer down, probably by two digits.
The local media and DFL-leaning “alternative” media will take this as a huge boost for the DFL…
…notwithstanding the fact that the poll will drastically oversample Democrat-leaning voters.
But you’ll only learn that on conservative blogs and talk radio.
This pattern is iron-clad and absolute; the Minnesota Poll is a useless appendage that serves only as a morale-builder for the DFL; the only exception has been in 2008, when the GOP did so badly that the DFL didn’t need the help.
This year? Facing a solid GOP candidate with three nonentities and facing an “Independence Party” candidate that will take three DFL votes for every two Republicans, in a year when anti-tax-and-spend fever is sweeping every part of this nation outside the Beltway and Kenwood?
The morale-builder is needed.
My favorite bit of Minnesota Poll history; immediately before the 2002 gubernatorial election, the Minnesota Poll showed Roger Moe with a slim but significant lead, while Tim Pawlenty and IndyParty candidate Tim Penny duked it out for second in a near-statistical tie. You may recall that Pawlenty won pretty handily, while Penny got about half the share the MNPoll predicted.
Luke Hellier at MDE has more:
Let’s use the 2006 Governor’s Race as an example.
On November 6 the poll showed the following:
Tim Pawlenty 39%
Mike Hatch 42%
Peter Hutchinson 7%
Just a day later, Minnesotans went to the poll an reelected Tim Pawlenty to a second term. The actual results were:
Tim Pawlenty 46%
Mike Hatch 45%
Peter Hutchinson 6%
In the US Senate Race, the poll showed Mark Kennedy only receiving 33%. On election day he received 38%
Going back 2 years earlier, the poll had President George Bush only with 42% of the support in Minnesota. On election day the President received the support of 48% of Minnesotans.
Needless to say, the Minnesota Poll vastly under estimates the support of Republicans while inflating that of Democrats.
Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 9AM-3PM.
Volume I “The First Team” - Brian and John or some combination thereof kick off from 11-1.
Volume II “The Headliner” – Ed and I follow from 1-3PM Central. We’ll be talking about the week’s news – and with Barb Davis White, candidate for the DFL primary in the Fifth Congressional District against Keith Ellison.
The King Banaian Show! – King is on from 9-11 on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities! We’re broadening the franchise; two stations, now!
And for those of you who like your constitutionalism straight up with no chaser, don’t forget the Sons of Liberty, from 3-5!
(All times Central)
So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of sanity. You have so many options:
Um, no. He didn’t vote to “lessen penalties”. He voted to allow convicted drunk drivers to get some of their rights back after ten years’ good behavior, and voted for a provision that would allow accused drunk driver the radical right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Alliance for a Better Minnesota has no shame – but we should all be ashamed of them anyway.
The biggest driver of liberal media bias is not a grand conspiracy to alter the news–although the Journolist disclosures show there was more coordination and conspiring going on than most would have imagined. The chief reason that the news is more often than not tinged with a leftist perspective is that the vast majority of people in the newsrooms, studios, and offices of the traditional media roughly share the same ideological mindset. And, since the people they work and live with generally have the same views they do, they assume that this mindset is shared by the majority of Americans. Well, at least the majority of reasonable Americans.
You see artifacts of this in the occasional moments when our institutional left talks about society when it thinks its among friends. ”West Wing” – and its predecessor, the really dumb movie The American President – greeted references to abortion, guns, taxes, defense, and spending with the sort of blithe assurance that reql Americans accept the left’s ideas as the norm.
Journolist? More of the same:
When Avent says that Palin “has terrible positions on things like choice,” everyone on the Journolist knows exactly what he’s talking about and agrees with him. What reasonable person wouldn’t? The use of language is also telling. Now when I read Avent’s words about “choice” I know exactly what he’s talking about. But this isn’t how most people talk about abortion. And if you told the average American that Palin has “terrible positions on choice” they might well ask what the hell you’re talking about. A choice about what?
ABORTION! ABORTION! ABORTION! The semantic games that abortion supporters play betrays that fact that they know how unsettling the word is. If abortion is such a swell “choice,” why not come out and say that you’re pro-abortion. Heck, I’m willing to drop the “pro-life” label (at least when it comes to abortion) if the “pro-choice” crowd would be willing to be honest about what they really support. One side is anti-abortion and one side pro-abortion. Let’s stop playing word games.
In the interest of clarity, I’ve been doing this for years.
I’ve mellowed a bit from when I called choicers “pro-death”.
The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.
The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.
But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.
So let’s take stock here:
The Obama Administration has amplified all of the Bush Administration’s worst traits – spending four times as fast, worthless on immigration and outstripping even the worst and mostly false allegations against Bush at civil liberties – and given up on all the good traits, the tax cuts and America-first philosophy.
By one of those odd coincidences, today – the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite albums by a female singer, is also also the birthday of one of my favorite female singers. It’s Patti Scialfa’s birthday today.
Scialfa spent years as a journeywoman singer, writer and musician around the New York and New Jersey music scenes, recording with Southside Johnny and David Johannson (better known as Buster Poindexter, of “Hot Hot Hot” fame), before joining the E Street Band in 1984 on the virtual eve of the Born in the USA tour.
Which was where I saw her, unannounced, for the first time – on night two of the tour, turning The River’s “Out In The Street” into a virtual duet.
It wasn’t until 1993, with the release of her first of three solo albums, Rumble Doll, that Scialfa really stepped out on her own. And Rumble Doll is one of the most glorious overlooked gems of the 1990s:
The album has a lot of influences – and “Bruce Springsteen” is only obliquely and intermittently one of them:
Did I say “glorious gem?” Why, yes, I believe I did:
I saw this bit on CBS News yesterday - entitled “Target Boycott Movement Grows Following Donation to Support “Antigay” Candidate” – and I thought “Wow. Sounds like there’s a wave of spontaneous anti-Target fervor out there!”
Then I – or “we”, actually – looked a little deeper.
The piece – featuring someone named “Roadie Roaring” or “Rudy Rattan” or something’; the woman’s diction is less-than-ideal – shows her walking into a Target, exchanging a bunch of goods, and demanding that her Target card be cut up.
It’s presented as if it were a spontaneous bit of reportage. Look at it, you be the judge.
We’ll come back to Ronnie Roller in a bit.
With about three seconds to go in the piece, it notes that it was “Produced for the Uptake by Bill Sorem”. I got an email from someone who follows these things:
Bill Sorem has records on Mn Campaign finance of giving a couple hundred bucks to the SD42 DFL (which includes Eden Prairie, the city where the faux boycott took place), and a $2300 contribution to The Obamanation. So…a known DFL supporter just accidentally has his video camera and tapes this bit of faux news that is designed to threaten businesses into not contributing to causes that might benefit GOP candidates, helping his DFL party.
But of course, Bill has no unclean motives….NOOOOOOOOOO!
So – Bill Sorem just may not have been a random passerby with a camera.
The Uptake, by the way, is a left-leaning “citizen journalism” videoblog that spent the last year trying to convince the Legislature that they were a “news” organization worthy of credentials to cover the Legislature. Now, they are participating in an attack ad run by “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”.
Phil said that Rondy Raiton “sounds strangely similar to Randi Reitan, a gay activist mother who frequently is on the op ed page of the Strib.”
I googled Randy Reitan & clicked on her images page. BINGO!!! So much for this being a chance happening. Rest assured that I’ll be posting about this this afternoon.
So when you google Randi Reitan, you get – voila! The picture of someone who is not only not just some random Target customer, but in fact is someone who is relishing her fifteen minutes in the spotlight.
At the beginning, where Mrs. Reitan introduces herself, perhaps it would have been helpful and honest if she’d called herself “a mother, grandmother, and DFL uber-activist“. Just saying.
So to summarize: Alliance for a Better Minnesota (and CBS News) want us to swallow the following:
That Bill Sorem Just Happened To Videotape A Random Outraged Customer: It’s hard to say if the producer wanted this event to look like a candid camera incident; it certainly looks staged. But it was presented by the Uptake, by A4aBM, and by CBS as an organic, grassroots, random protest against Tom Emmer and against Target’s donation to the “MNForward” PAC, which supports Emmer in the gubernatorial election. This is bad journalism.
Let’s see if I have this straight (pardon the pun):
Some little old granny, after seeing Target giving money to a group that supports Tom Emmer, who might not support gay marriage, goes down to her local Target store, where she just happens to run into an Uptake ‘reporter’, who just happened to have his video equipment on hand to witness the events that transpired.
Of course, there is no “CONTEXT” to the event. What you don’t see:
#1 “Granny”, her husband, and her gay son have given well over $10,000 to DFL causes over the years. $0 to GOP
#2 The gay son founded “Equality Ride” http://www.soulforce.org/article/1024 which spreads the message: “to empower young activists and challenge the unfair school policies that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.” [We've covered SoulForce's odd mission here]
#3 The husband of “Granny” is on the Board of “Soulforce” http://www.soulforce.org/article/891 whose Vision Statement is: “We seek freedom from religious and political oppression for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people.”
Nope. “Granny” has no bias…no vested interest…no hidden motives. She just happened to bump into the guy with the camera at Target.
It would have been different, to an extent, had Reitan not gone to such pains to set herself up as just another woman off the street – “a mother and grandmother” – in the setup. But she did!
And why would “journalists” like the Uptake misrepresent a staged shoot as “news?”
In the summer of 1982, I was 19, and the economy for teenagers wasn’t a whole lot better than it is today.
But I lucked out, and got a job – a full-time (48 hour a week) gig at a radio station in Carrington, North Dakota – a little town of about 2,000 people about forty miles north of Jamestown.
I held a lot of jobs at that little station over that summer; morning guy, afternoon guy, production guy, sometimes news and play-by-play guy…
…and in my “spare” time, “Music Director”; I added and pulled songs from the rotation, and kept things in some kind of rough order.
Now, I wasn’t a country-western kind of guy; I was more into Springsteen, the Clash, the Pistols, the Iron City Houserockers, that kind of thing.
And even if I had been a country kind of guy, it was a terrible time in the history of country-western music. The dominant subgenre of the era, “Country Crossover” – an extended attempt by Nashville to get country to cross over to the pop charts and audience – led to some of the most dismal, sterile, vapid country-pop music in the history of the genre. Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Lee Greenwood, Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbit and a long slew of pseudo-pop crossover acts dominated the charts; the few “traditional” country artists – George Strait, Randy Travis, the Gatlins, and the just-emerging Judds and a very young Ricky Skaggs – were outlying curios, while the “Outlaw Movement”, the paleotraditional mob led by Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, were vaguely threatening (but extremely successful – which should have told somebody something).
Now, being a rock and roll guy who’d grown up in a not-overly-music household, most of that was pretty opaque to me at the time, and didn’t become clear to me for quite a while. Country, to the 19 year old me, had divided into two camps; poppy country and twangy country. And to me, there wasn’t much to tie either of them to the larger American musical tradition.
Hey, I said I was 19.
At any rate, on a boring Sunday afternoon I was flipping through the stacks of old albums – and I found a copy of this record:
It was something…not “unfamiliar”, per se; I’d learned a little bit of bluegrass while learning the guitar a scant four or five years before. But this wasn’t the generic rip-roaring “Hillbilly Techno” that I remembered; this was a meandering trip across middle America heard with a Kentucky accent with guitars and mandolins in the background.
And on about the second listen, it slammed into me like a runaway coal cart.
Emmylou Harris had had quite a career already; in the less-than-a-decade after she’d gotten into the music business (after starting out as a teacher), she’d played the Washington DC bluegrass circuit, recorded with and been the muse for former Byrd Gram Parsons, struck out on her own after his death, and had a brief but productive run at mainstream country chart success, doing ever-so-slightly traditionally-themed music that pushed country pop’s progressive envelope; Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town and Luxury Liner were brilliant, glossy records that had a sharp twang but an ear for the modern. Harris was on the far modern fringes of the genre.
Roses In The Snow was her “back to basics” effort; a return to the bluegrass form. But rather than diving straight back into traditional mountain music, Roses interpreted other genres – honky-tonk, pop, country swing, even top-forty pop – through a bluegrass lens. Recorded with an all-star cast of traditional musicians – Brian Ahern and Albert Lee on guitar, Emory Gordy on bass, Ricky Skaggs on a whole slew of instruments, and guest-vocal shots from Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Linda Ronstadt, and Willy Nelson sitting in on guitar – the album smoked with all the proficiency of her seventies-era “Hot Band”, but with a twang that came less from Texas than from up the holler.
And it was spectacular.
The title cut – a blistering-yet-poignant raveup written by Ruth Franks and featuring The Whites on backup vocals – set the stage; this was no dozey Barbra Mandrell record:
(This version from the early nineties, featuring her “Nash Ramblers” backing band)
The old traditional “Wayfaring Stranger”, the Stanley Brothers’ classic “The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn”, a duet with Skaggs, and “Green Pastures”, with Skaggs and Dolly Parton, extend the title cut’s theme - traditional mountain country music is about the constant loss that pervaded rural American life until not all that long ago.
“I’ll Go Stepping Too” (sung with Skaggs and Tony Rice), Bill Halley’s “Miss the Mississippi” and the A.P. Carter paleocountry classic “”Gold Watch and Chain” are steps through the traditional country playbook; the traditional “Jordan”, featuring Skaggs, Rice and Johnny Cash, is an intricate, gorgeous standout.
But stuck at the end of Side 1 was the album’s standout; a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”.
(again, this is with the Nash Ramblers)
Where the original Simon and Garfunkel song was largely a vocal production piece that was both gorgeous and just a little bit hollow – nobody could possibly believe show-biz prodigy Simon could identify with the protagonist any way but literarily. Harris’ version rings with the weariness a million boys and girls from the holler, and every other corner of rural America, who went to the big city in search of something better, or at least different, for their lives. You can hear echoes of the Okies moving to California to find land and water andmountain folk moving to Cincinnati and Chicago for jobs, and World War II veterans knocking around port cities all over the place, ”laying out their winter clothes, and wishing they were home”, awash in isolation and alienation…
It’s one of the rare cover versions that completely obliterates and excellent original.
I was thinking about the DFL’s engineered flap over the donations Target, Best Buy, Red Wing Shoes, Davisco, Polaris and Hubbard Broadcasting made to MNForward, a pro-Emmer PAC that’s had the temerity to run advertising on Emmer’s behalf.
I found the word I’m looking for: Offensive.
I don’t know what offends me more, though. Is it that the DFL…:
… is (news flash) lying (as usual)? Emmer is not “anti-gay”; that’s just your standard Alinski 101 framing?
… is trying so hard to manufacture outrage over corporate donations while they take millions a year from outrage-proof institutions – unions and plutocrats?
…that they think so many Minnesotans are so stupid that they’d buy it?
…that, in over 50% of the cases (especially in the metro) they’ll be right?
…that our “elite” media is eating this crap up for exactly the reason they were intended to eat it up; because the DFL has nothing else to talk about.
As re that last one? That may be the worst. The DFL really doesn’t have anything in the idea department. I’ll prove it, and you can too: ask any DFLer for a positive idea; watch them respond “I’m POSITIVE I hate Target!”, or something to that effect.
It’s good news for November, of course – but in the short term, it’s killing my blood pressure, and in the long term having to share a society with people like this can’t be good for a nation.
Perhaps there’s a T-shirt idea for the GOP; “The DFL: The party that thinks you’re a not-to0-bright drama queen”.
We get it – the “elite” of the regional left has the victorian vapours that some “Tenthers” would suggest that local pre-emption of federal laws, to say nothing of secession, might be legitimate manifestations of popular revulsion at government overreach.
(Note: I oppose NCLB too – but not the same reasons Entenza does. The teachers unions hate NCLB because it holds them accountable for their failures; I oppose it because, among other things, it holds them accountable for the wrong things)
You gotta hand it to Nick Coleman. While his sympathies for the lumpen gray Minnesota left were almost too obvious to joke about, he at least went to the trouble of hilariously claimaing to be “nobody’s monkey”.
Mark Dayton’s campaign ads tend to feature timeworn photos of his family’s department store downtown. For those old enough to remember, the pictures conjure memories of whimsical Christmas displays, fat old Santas and the smell of caramel corn wafting from the candy store.
Down the street, Target, the discount chain that Dayton’s launched, has carved a similarly feel-good atmosphere that makes us crave that lime green wastebasket or retro toaster, even if we don’t really need it.
Now that Target has jumped into the corporate political sweepstakes by donating $150,000 to an organization that supports Rep. Tom Emmer for governor, you have to wonder whether every American outing will eventually be tainted and influenced by the nasty politics that divide us.
You mean, like every child’s “outing” to school, every single day, is “tainted” now that the teachers’ union has donated at least twice as muchto the anti-Emmer “Alliance for a Better Minnesota?”
By Tuesday, Target was on the defensive because of the immediate response of gays and lesbians, many of whom are no doubt valued “guests” of the Tar-zhay experience.
“We rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda,” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said.
Target offers domestic partner benefits and was a sponsor of the recent pride parade. But some gay groups are now criticizing Target because Emmer is against gay marriage.
And right there is your proof positive that Tevlin is getting his writing marching orders directly from the DFL. Because while Emmer is no more a gay marriage supporter than most Minnesotans, he’s also correctly noted (in this Northern Alliance podcast from the State Fair) that the next governor of Minnesota has much, much bigger problems to deal with, and that it’s never really going to be an issue for that governor.
This is proof, by the way, that there is no way to appease the liberal special interest monster; as Tevlin notes, Target gives benefits to domestic partners, has aggressively led the way on “diversity in the workplace”, sponsors Minneapolis’ annual Pride rally, and among its 160-plus milllion in annual charitable giving are not a few bucks to gay-friendly non-profits.
But offend the gay political orthodoxy by supporting a candidate who supports business policies more palabable to Target’s board’s fiduciary duty, and you might as well be Andrew Dice Clay.
OutFront asks that Target rescind the donation or give to one supporting candidates who fight for gay rights.
I have a better idea, Target; keep doing what you’re doing, and tell OutFront to go to WalMart.
I, on the other hand, like to think of our political system as a delicate product. So remember, Target, if you break it, you own it.
Sign number 30 that the DFL is so scared of Tom Emmer that they don’t even bother washing their underwear anymore; they’re bringing up “the DUI issue again”.
It popped up last spring during the endorsing convention – and, rumor has it, one of the big PACs is going to run a big ad buy on the “subject”.
I saw the ad just now. I’m not going to link to it – Alida Messinger can pay me a couple thousand dollars. If you want to see it, it’s out there.
But it’s an incredibly gutless, misleading ad.
It’s Ancient History: Emmer had two DUIs – 19 and 29 years ago. He paid his debt to society about the time Bill Clinton was being elected to office.
Facts are Pesky Things: The laws he proposed – in the 2006 session, decades after his episodes – would have treated drunk drivers as innocent until proven guilty and allowed them some rights back after ten years of good behavior! That is all!
The ad itself – a woman talking about her son, killed by a drunk driver who, I’m told, wasn’t Tom Emmer – is the most shameless bit of fact-free, context-raping emotional manipulation I’ve seen on the TV yet.
Apparently all of Alida Messinger’s money can’t buy a sense of shame.
Disney looks to take movie marketing beyond viral to voluminous.
The 1982 film Tron broke new – if unheralded – ground in visual effects as the first motion picture to rely largely on computer-designed elements. Like Michelangelo trying to paint the Sistine Chapel with rocks, the attempt to create a computer-generated movie with only 330MB of disc space produced a crude and compromised redention of what Tron‘s creators had hoped it would be. As such, the film modestly recouped it’s $17 million budget. Considering only a decade later that entirely computer-generated characters, like those of Terminator 2 or Jurassic Park, were atonishing audiences, Tron in hindsight seemed even more like a cellouid’s equivalent of Pong.
Nearly 30 years later, the sequel Tron: Legacy has little ground left to break in terms of visual effects. But the film appears destined to try and become a trendsetter on its own in the world of marketing:
By the time the movie arrives in theaters on Dec. 17, Walt Disney Studios will have spent three and a half years priming the audience pump. The most recent push came last week at Comic-Con International, the annual pop culture convention here. For the third year in a row, Disney teased fans with exclusive “Tron: Legacy” footage. No other movie has guest-starred here so often…
Disney isn’t merely content to draw out the world’s longest cinematic tease. Forgoing the traditional movie tie-ins of fast food restaurants and toys, Disney is aiming for a marketing effort so wide that the studio is no longer merely marketing a film but an entire culture.
Skin-tight black uniforms with white and blue glowing light are part of Donatella Versace’s latest line. Recording artists such as Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are also doning Tron-esque clothes. Audi has even built a concept car based on Tron‘s signature light cycle. By modern marketing standards, Tron: Legacy isn’t an event – it’s a lifestyle.
From Disney’s standpoint – why not? The house that a mouse built is wagering a staggering $350 million budget on a sequel to a critical and commercial bomb from the 1980s.
Tron: Legacy simply represents another stage in Hollywood’s endless quest to find an increasingly difficult to target audience at lesser and lesser cost. The advent of DVR and the expansion of cable channels has made it easier for film’s most powerful advertising weapon – TV ads – to all but disappear.
While viral campaigns of making online converts one at a time have worked well for modestly budgeted films (see Paranormal Experience’s success), the margins for mainstream Hollywood fare rival Congressional budget deficits. Consider this – if Tron makes $1 billion worldwide it’ll be in the same league as Alice in Wonderland and considered a flop. Alice “only” cost $200 million and earned the same amount. Little wonder then if Disney will leave no marketing stone unturned this fall.
“Mall Diva” and “Ben” from Night Writer announce…well, actually, no – they’re busy. Grandpa Night Writer does the announcing:
Finally, at 5:58 [Sunday afternoon] my youngest daughter, Tiger Lilly, hollered downstairs, “Daddy, come see your new grandson!” As I thundered up the stairs I heard a brand new voice — crying at the top of his new but strong lungs — and that’s when my head nearly spun off of my body at the enormity of what had actually happened, right here in my own home, to my own daughter. Just moments ago the only thing we could hear of him was the heatbeat on the monitor, and now — a voice! I’d already well-imagined a face, hair, little fists and feet — but never thought about hearing him for the first time! The stairway seemed to contract on me for a moment as if I were making my own way out into a new world and then I joined the crowd in the bedroom, shouldering my place into line to wait, with arms wide-open, for my turn to hold him.
Little Ben is so far so good.
Congrats to Ben and the Diva and – since being an aunt seems to agree with her – Tiger Lily…
I’ve often wondered how senior citizens pay our various cities’ rampant and always-rising property taxes on fixed incomes.
The House DFL doesn’t!
May 5, 2008 – the House was debating HF3149, regarding property tax reform. Laura Brod proposed an amendment that would have had the state refund a portion of a property owner’s property taxes, provided he/she was eligible for property tax relief, on a sliding scale depending on their (low, low) income. The end result – a person would pay no more than 5% of their income in property taxes.
The amendment came to a vote (see page 11323). Tom Emmer (and Brod, naturally) voted to help struggling property owners.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher voted against it, along with most of the DFL; the amendment failed 71-58.
Later in the day, Brod offered a similar amendment, limiting the refunds to people over 65 (scroll down to page 11325)
Emmer and Brod voted for it. Kelliher voted against it.
Washington tries to put more junk in the SBA’s trunk.
The pre-recession economy saw more than its fair share of credit alchemy as lenders ignored equity. With bank loans to small firms dropping 5.6% to $670 billion from heights of $710 billion as recently as June of 2008, the Administration has become increasingly desperate to get credit into the hands of business. The only problem? The companies that need the credit can’t afford to accept it:
Bankers say the problem isn’t scarce credit, it’s lack of demand from creditworthy firms in a weak economy. The result may be more loans given to distressed firms and higher losses. While bank regulators don’t compile default rates, the biggest lenders have charge-offs of 4 percent to 14 percent tied to small businesses. Eliot Stark, managing director at Capital Insight Partners Inc., said their credit record resembles “junk.”
“The highest demand for loans is from the companies least qualified, the companies that have really struggled because of the economic downturn,” said Stark, a former Comerica Inc. executive whose Chicago-based investment bank helps community lenders raise capital. The way lawmakers see it, “everyone’s a good borrower, and that’s just not the case.”
Washington’s lending advice is currently as practical as a baseball coach telling his hitter he can swing away – but under no circumstances will he be allowed to get out.
Worse is D.C.’s legislative panacea of having the Treasury Department make preferred stock investments in “small” banks (those with assets of $10 billion or less) in order to stimulate loans. $30 billion in capital will be transferred to small banks in hopes that most of these lenders will leverage the funds to help create new small business loans - a figure that some in Washington estimate could be as high as $30 billion. Despite assurances from Treasury that the program will earn $1.1 billion over 10 years for taxpayers, the legislation sounds like TARP for Hervé Villechaize-sized lenders.
Considering the bailout investment program targets largely community banks which account for most of the 240 banks that have failed since 2009, it becomes even harder not to see the effort as an attempt to inflate a TARP into yet another credit bubble. Which may be precisely the point:
Small borrowers are higher risks because their size leaves less room for error, bankers say. Half fail within their first five years, according to the SBA, and the recession eroded the value of hard assets such as property and equipment to pledge as collateral, said Alfred Osborne, senior associate dean of the UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles.
“We can create lots of jobs making bad loans,” NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg said. “We did that during the housing bubble.”
In going through the Daily Caller’s yeoman work in releasing the Journolist archives, I’m struck by nothing so much as what a bunch of intellectual lightweights the “elite” media are.
I read all fifteen pages of the list’s exchange regarding Sarah Palin and the birth of Trig – right at the beginning of the Trigger conspiracy theory – and was appalled by:
How very very bad at analysis – as in, mathematical and statistical analysis – these people are.
How very, very hard the women in the discussion – especially the few older ones who’d managed to justify having children – had to work to try to convince the rest of the participants that they were being hypocritical in attacking Palin’s (ostensible?) choice to fly back to Alaska for Trig’s birth
How very, very difficult it seemed for some of the participants to square their “feminism” and “pro-choice” rhetoric with the idea that Sarah Palin was qualified to choose when and where to have the baby
What a very, very trite group of people they are. Bob Mackey on who, and why, McCain should have chosen someone else for Vice President: “Libermann [sic] would have been a better choice from that perspective. At least he has experience and can find Eastern Market for Sunday brunch.” That’s right; because the VP is only one omelet away from the presidency? Knowing DC’s social circles is the dispositive criterion for a potential President?
On the one hand, it’s depressing. On the other – the idea that the level of “intellect” among the left’s “elites” is so very, very…er, intellectually attainable is a bit of a kick.
I found it interesting that the editors of the Star Tribune thought that the employment statuses of the MN-02 DFL candidates running against Rep. John Kline were newsworthy while a national story about Rep. Michele Bachmann wasn’t.
Let’s look at the allegations:
The essence of the story is that Dan Powers (DFL-endorsed) was a contractor and collected unemployment while Shelley Madore’s contract wasn’t renewed. Eric Roper and the editors of the Strib think something is fishy. They consider this more newsworthy than Bachmann stating “I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another” if Republicans regain the House and “we don’t have to fund any of these programs and that’s exactly what we need to do – defund all of this nonsense and then unwind it.”
So let’s look at this from the perspective of an editor:
News: Two congressional candidates have financial irregularities (provided that they’re not Obama cabinet nominees).
Not News: Michele Bachmann says something that gets liberals exercised, but is really no different from a zillion other such incidents.
What is also interesting about the Strib’s political coverage is that they very rarely (verging on never) cover Kline. The latest news (1 week old) is that Kline opposed funding child nutritional programs with the following hypocritical excuse:
“The debt crisis is the greatest national security threat we face,” ranking Republican John Kline of Minnesota said. “The cost of this legislation cannot be ignored.”
If the Strib did cover this story about Kline’s vote, what do you think the chances are the someone like Roper would note that Kline supported the Bush agenda of tax cuts and borrowing to pay for two wars?
News: Er, Kline voted against a bill? No, the only news here is that the word “hypocritical” has been devalued to the point of meaninglessness; hypocrisy is holding someone to a moral standard to which you yourself are not willing to adhere. Think John Kline is inconsistent on deficit spending?
Not News: Kline voted with the Bush Administration – while the Bush administration was in office. Two to eight years ago.
Norm Coleman starts the RNC’s game of musical chairs early.
As 2009 begin, one of the two major political parties in the U.S. handed over its reins of control to an underqualified but charismatic African-American politican who subsequentially torpedoed the party in a series of public gaffes and highly publicized scandals. Barack Obama was also inaugurated.
For a post that typically attracts little attention outside of the Beltway, Michael Steele’s RNC chairmanship has been disasterously high-profile. In the last year-and-a-half of his two-year term, Steele has surfed one mistake after another into a building tsunami of political pressure to oust the chairman early. From his public criticism of Rush Limbaugh, to his speaking fees, and sudden anti-Afghan War comments, Steele has taken the largely managerial role of RNC chair and tried to turn it into a psuedo-legislative office.
If Steele’s effect on the RNC were limited to his apparently incurable foot-in-mouth disease, talk of removing him or even talk of the next election for chair in 2011 would seem incredibly premature. But the RNC’s mechanics appear to have suffered as well. The party’s primary role as a fundraising vehicle has been easily usurped by the Republican Governors Association – headed by former RNC chair Haley Barbour. While the RNC holds only $10 million in cash on hand, with more than $2 million in uncollected debts, the RGA is breaking fundraising records. At $28 million in the bank, the RGA has already doubled it’s largest yearly take – ever. And those numbers don’t even take into account charges that Steele is hiding more than $7 million in debt.
But is the solution to replace a politician as chair with another politician?
Yet as a politican who only months ago declined a widely expected bid for governor, is Coleman making a similar mistake to Steele in eyeing the job as a national political soapbox? So far, Coleman and his allies are hitting the right notes:
“He sees tremendous longing for donors who want to invest in an organization that will be critical to the 2012 cycle,” said the Coleman confidante. “And he has a proven track record of being able to raise money from the party’s traditional key constituencies and constituencies the party doesn’t always have.”…
“He understands it’s a fundraising job,” said one senior Republican, who has talked to Coleman about the RNC post.
If anything, Coleman appears to be trying to position himself – as Newsweek puts it – as the “anti-Michael Steele.” Where Steele viewed his role as making public pronouncements about Republican policy, Coleman at least rhetorically understands that the role of RNC chair has little to do with grand strategy. It’s a distinction even Newsweek has trouble understanding in suggesting that a Coleman selection might be an attempt to target swing states:
Coleman hails from Minnesota, which is a bluish-purple state, with populist and environmentalist streaks. So, would Coleman, who defeated high-profile Democrat Walter Mondale and came within a few hundred votes of doing the same to Al Franken in a Democratic wave election, unlock the secret to helping Republicans break out of their old/white/Southern cage? Probably not. Steele, after all, was chosen to attempt that, and the Democrats chose then–Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to chair their party to do the inverse for them. Neither can be said to have accomplished that.
Party chairman are ideally much like the Victorian view of children – better seen then heard. They aren’t policy wonks nor are they press secretaries. As the last year has shown, average activists have far greater impact on the political process than party apparatchiks. That’s how it should be.
Steele can be endured until his tenure ends and should not be re-elected. And while Norm Coleman will undoubtably not make the sames mistakes as Steele, he remains a political – not managerial – figure. The GOP needs a functional, competent manager, not another high-profile politician who will be granted greater attention due in part to his elected past.