In Memory, With A Side Order Of Spiking The Ball

Let’s go back in time ten years.

Back then, as the plucky underdogs of “Concealed Carry Reform Now” worked away at the biggest grassroots political coup in Minnesota pre-Tea-Party history, the orcs of the anti-gun movement sawed gamely away at a series of memes to try to scare people out of voting for the measure:

  • “There’ll be blood in the streets!”
  • “People will kill each other over fender-benders!”
  • “It’ll be a danger to law enforcement!”
  • “Gang-bangers will get permits to carry”. (Seriously.  They said that).
  • And, paradoxically, “nobody really wants them”.

None of them came true, naturally – in Minnesota or any of the 40-odd other states with “Shall Issue” laws.  The only real value to come of any of those memes was that the DFL got to practice what it preached…as rel environmentalism.  Because they re-used all of those memes to try to similarly poison the well against “Stand Your Ground” bills, which are if anything vastly more socially benign than “Shall Issue!”

But that’s next year’s battle.  Today, let’s look back. Because today, we’re observing a mournful anniversary, and celebrating an ass-kicking milestone.

———-

Saturday is the first anniversary of the passing of my friend and first carry permit instructor, Joel Rosenberg.

Borrowed from the GOCRA website

Joel was the beating heart and the rapier wit of the Second Amendment movement in Minnesota; where there were trenches to be fought in, he was there.  The passage of the Minnesota Personal Protection Act was a monument to lots of people – Joe Olson, the whole GOCRA/CCRN crew, Senator Pat Pariseau and Representative Linda Boudreau (who wrote the legislation for years and years until finally passed), a far-sighted GOP minority and a fair-minded, human-rights-focused minority of outstate DFLers – and of course, Joel, who spent the better part of a decade bouncing peripatetically about between all of them.

And it’s perhaps fitting that, just in time for this sad anniversary, there is happy news.

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – which has led the way on Second Amendment issues in this state for nearly 20 years, issued a press release (I’ve added emphasis):

As of this month 101,357 Minnesotans have been issued carry permits, according to  a report issued by the Department of Public Safety yesterday morning.

More than 100,000 law-abiding gun citizens now hold Minnesota handgun carry permits, according to the latest monthly report from the state’s Department of Public Safety (see attachment). The permits are issued under the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act. As of May 30, 101,357 permits were active.

Permits by Year Courtesy GOCRA

The statute, known as a “shall-issue” law, requires county sheriffs to issue a five-year carry permit to any law-abiding citizen who has received certified training and passed criminal, mental health and substance abuse background checks.

Permitees by age. Courtesy GOCRA

Passed in 2003 and re-passed in 2005 following a court challenge on a legal technicality, the statute, replaced a previous “may-issue” system that allowed police chiefs and sheriffs absolute discretion to grant or deny a permit for any or no reason. Under the previous system, some jurisdictions issued permits freely, while others refused to issue any for personal protection.

 

1 in 7 permittees is femaile. Courtesy GOCRA.

“Self defense is a human right,” said Joseph E. Olson, a law professor and president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, which lobbied for the law for more than a decade. “And the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right. Now, one in 40 Minnesota adults has exercised that right.”

That’s 50,000 more than I’d figured we’d ever have.  10,000 more than the 90K estimate from the Legislative Auditor’s office – a  figure the DFL bandied around like a scary story to keep kids in line.

101,357 law-abiding Minnesotans with currently active permits to carry firearms in public.

It’s a wonderful thing.

Let’s take the occasion to go over a few bits of news you can use about the issue:

  • Notwithstanding Wes “Lying Sack of Garbage” Skoglund and Heather Martens’ and Jane Ranum and Ellen Anderson’s assurances, not a single carry permit holder has been accused, much less convicted, of a single unambiguously-wrongful shooting.  Skoglund’s demented twaddle about “gang bangers with permits” and “people with permits stalking me” has proven to be even less accurate, much less prescient, than the DFL’s usual addlepated pandering to the uninformed and ignorant (see also: the campaign against “Stand Your Ground”).
  • There are been two justifiable homicides carried out by carry permit holders – the Evanovich case and the Grumpy’s incident.  In both incidents, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office (!!!) stated without any muss or fuss that the civilians involved – a good samaritan and a bouncer, respectively – had acted justifiably.
  • There was one highly ambiguous incident – the Treptow case, in which a citizen shot  (and wounded about as lightly as it’s possible to wound someone with a handgun at four feet range) a road-raging motorist who was pointing a gun at his pregnant wife – and happened to be an “undercover” cop.  Official Minnesota closed ranks around the officer.  The case was a miscarriage of justice for which heads should roll, in the next world if not this (but preferably this).
  • Treptow case notwithstanding, there has not been a single accusation, much less conviction, of a post-2003 permit holder on any crime of gun-related violence.  Not one.
  • Minnesota has a murder rate of 2.2 per 100,000 people (and the gun homicide rate is 1.47 per 100,000).  That means of every 100,000 MInnesotans, 2,2 are murdered every year.  Among the population of Minnesota carry permittees, then, the murder rate (leaving out homicides ruled justifiable) is 0 per 100,000.   Considered over the nine year history of the shall-issue law, that means Minnesotans with legal carry permits are less likely to commit crime by a factor of 0 divided by 2.2, also technically known as “infinity”.  Minnesota Carry Permittees are infinitely safer than the rest of the population.
  • But why so bloodthirsty?  Although nobody keeps statistics on the subject, we know anecdotally that there’ve been  dozens, possibly hundreds of defensive gun uses (DGUs) over the past nine years carried out by carry permittees, mostly without a shot being fired.
  • Nobody really knows what percentage of eligible citizens (people with clean records who pass background checks and take a safety course and are over 21 years old, in Minnesota) get their permits – the rule of thumb used to be about 1% of a state’s eligible population.  If that rule of thumb was accurate, then Minnesota is a showcase for carry permit adoption; 100,000 out of four million (that’s a rough guess as to the number of eligible adults over 21 years old in Minnesota) is 2.5%, which is spectacular.

While it’s a long way to go to get to the goal – every law-abiding American exercising his duty to protect their and their family’s lives and liberty – it’s a great start.

And I think Joel would appreciate that.

 

Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Two Weeks Ago

I should change the motto of this blog; “Our Rumors Are Better Than Most Organizations’ News”.

The Wall Street Journal announced that Wisconsin AFSCME membership has dropped.

Well, no.  It plummeted.

Well, no.  It went into a flame-belching, smoking death spiral.

Yeah.  That’s what I”m looking for.

In the Wall Street Journal, (via Power Line):

Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the state’s second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers—fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a person who has viewed Afscme’s figures. A spokesman for Afscme declined to comment.

Much of that decline came from Afscme Council 24, which represents Wisconsin state workers, whose membership plunged by two-thirds to 7,100 from 22,300 last year.

This was, of course, reported in this space two weeks ago today:

Scuttlebutt from a trusted source who works inside AFSCME Minnesota Council 5 states that there are interesting developments in the Wisconsin AFSCME. Ever since passage and signing of the “right-to-work” laws in our neighboring state to the east, about 80% of those AFSCME members have “opted-out” of paying union dues.

My source’s anecdote got the percentage wrong, but the magnitude of the catastrophic ennui facing Wisconsin’s unions was dead-nut on.

Certain members of the leftyblog clucking class tried to call BS on the anecdote, claiming “FACT CHECK”.

Their spurious claim of “BS” is returned with two weeks’ interest, um, piled on top.

Continue reading

Maybe They Need To…No, That’s Too Easy

MoveOn.org – an early adopter in the “mobilize low-information voters behind vague but simple chanting points” market – is claiming it’s going to need to triage its races:

MoveOn, a giant in the progressive political world and an early endorser of Barack Obama in 2008, warns that it might have to “pull the plug” on key campaigns to help Obama and Senate Democrats if its 7 million members don’t pony up with at least $5.

Without a rush of new cash, MoveOn says it will have to give up efforts to elect Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, help the recall fight against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and energize younger voters who’ve soured on Washington.

On the one hand, I suspect MoveOn is trying to scare its base into action.  There is no way they’re short of money; someone, George Soros or Paul Allen or Warren Buffett, will pony up.

On the other hand, Democrat enthusiasm can’t be especially high; even “progressives” aren’t better off than they were four years ago.

The homepage of MoveOn, which helped organize the 2004 anti-war movement, includes a “chip in” button preset at $8.

Hearing that MoveOn might be short of money is like hearing the mullahs have a computer virus problem.

Quixote Was Right

One of the most difficult jobs in politics is running for office as a Republican in Saint Paul.  You’re in a city that might, in a good cycle, be 30% Republican, and where a fair chunk of the city depends on government for a living, one way or another – university faculty, government workers, teachers, and of course many,. many clients.

It’s an uphill road.

And most years, what that means is districts with no GOP campaign – or, almost worse, “campaigns” that are intended to be warm bodies on the ballot to make it look like there’s some kind of contest going on.  The GOP in Saint Paul has no money, gets not much response.   There is currently not a single elected Republican in office anywhere in Ramsey County, and precious few conservative-ish Democrats (and even they are being purged, bit by bit).

Which leads, over the course of a few decades, to a debilitating ennui.  There are Republicans in Saint Paul; 30% of my Senate district voted for Tom Emmer and John McCain.  If every last one of them had turned out to vote in the SD66 Special Election last year, the GOP candidate would have won, and won big.  But Republicans in Saint Paul don’t turn out for local elections.  It’s my theory that they believe that their vote only really counts when it’s for a statewide or national office.  It’d be an easy thing to believe.

Last year, when I was “the establishment”, I figured it’d be a ten year job not only to make the 4th District GOP – which, after redistricting, covers St. Paul, Ramsey County, and the ‘burbs east of St. Paul all the way to the St. Croix – a functional party unit, but to get some sort of tradition of not losing badly all the time established, barring some sort of upheaval.

It’s too early to tell if the Ron Paul surge in Minnesota is that upheaval – but as I noted around convention time, there is at least the raw material to build some hope.

Six GOP candidates in the Fourth CD are getting together to hold a joint press conference at the Capitol today to push for a repeal of the stadium deal:

Meeting on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol on the morning of May 31, 2012, a coalition of six GOP candidates from the Twin Cities area announced their candidacy by setting the “Repeal of the Vikings Stadium Funding” initiative as their key legislative objective. Citing the irresponsible decision to use public funds for a private business and imposing new taxes and fees on the citizens of Minnesota without their consent, the legislative candidates expressed their frustration with the Minnesota legislature. If elected they plan on making their first legislative action the immediate Repeal of the Vikings Stadium Funding.

The press release for the event quoted Andrew Ojeda, the candidate from the Mac/Groveland area:

“Although a full repeal of the stadium bill (HF2958) appears politically infeasible at this moment, the 88-page document represents the fiscal irresponsibility that has engulfed much of the legislature. It is not based on honest T-Charts and balance sheets, but rather on ambitions of the here-and-now.”

And, more pithily, Carlos Conway, from 65B:

“This is nothing more than legislation that keeps the rich, rich and the poor, poor!”

Which puts them (and the other four, and yes, I’ll list ‘em in a bit) squarely in the wheelhouse with the freshmen in the Legislature that fought so hard to keep this abomination off our tax rolls, and keep it from gutting what had once been due process in taxation in this state.

Quixotic?  Sure.  But as Lincoln said, “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”

A little more – OK, a lot more – follow-through like this and maybe this can be an interesting campaign season.

I’ll stick by everything I wrote last spring – if everyone that bum-rushed the caucuses for Ron Paul turns out to support this wave of candidates who are putting their shoe leather today where there mouths were at caucus and convention time?  And by “support” I mean “donate time for lit-dropping, phone-banking, door-knocking, sign-planting and, of course, money”?  And if the “establishment” buries its grudges for next caucus and convention time and turns out (as, I should add, it largely is)?   This could be a lot of fun.

Will we win?  The odds are very, very long.  In this election, barring a Cravaack-like miracle (which, like most “Miracles”, was built from hard work and organization), success will likely be measured by moving the needle.  And in two years, moving it some more.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

And that’s good in and of itself – because the DFL knows that if the GOP gets above 40% in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, they can never win another statewide election.

There are two sides to that knife, by the way; if the GOP is ever to turn this state red, we need to find new voters.  And we’ve pretty much gotten all the GOP voters we can out of Maple Grove and Isanti and Benton counties; the new GOP voters are going to come from the Iron Range, and the West Side of Saint Paul, and the scrappy little businesses along East Lake Street, if they’re going to come from anywhere.

By the way, as we noted last week, campaigns have until July 30 to meet their fundraising thresholds – $1,500 for House races, $3,000 for Senate, and only the first $50 of any donation counts toward the threshold – to qualify for campaign aid from the state.  Yeah, it’s not very libertarian, but you’ve already paid for it – why not help it go to a better cause?

The six candidates out there on the steps today were:

If you’ve got a few – even $10 – to spare, it’d go a long way.

“Money In Politics Has Always Been Evil, Winston”

As Jim Treacher notes in The Daily Caller, “It’s appalling and undemocratic to raise more money than the Obama campaign” .

Or something. David Axelrod is purporting to be alarmed by a Politico story on how Republican super PACs are planning to spend $1 billion on the election.

Um… Why? Are these guys going back to saying super PACs are evil, now that we all know their own PAC, Priorities USA Action, sucks? “Being better at this than we are is a threat to democracy!!”

It’s Berg’s Seventh Law (“When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds“) in action; it’s easier to declare something the Democrats do badly a vice than it is to do it better.

It’s happening on an even bigger scale in Minnesota, where the DFL and its media enablers have spent the past six months painstakingly attacking the utterly innocuous and mundane American Legislative Exchange Commission as Alita Messinger’s network of plutocrat-and-union-funded organizations make ready to try to buy this election.

More on that later this week.

What A Difference Five Years Makes

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I can understand why you’d DO it – we have troops stationed in South Korea so we need to know what the North Koreans are up to – but why would you TELL anybody that you do it?

Signaling something to the Norks like LBJ taking ground then and giving it back in Vietnam? Taunting the North in hopes of provoking an attack so we can invade – Pearl Harbor style – just in time to distract the public from the economy and focus on Obama the War Hero for reelection?

Or is it aimed at China – you might be our largest creditor but you don’t own our country and we’ll spy on your buddies if we want to?

Too much wine for dinner?

Thought it was off the record?

Looking for the Polish Death Camps?

The whole point of black ops is they’re unseen, hidden, never talked about. “If I tell you, I have to kill you” type of stuff. Why take the wrapper off now?

Is that a rhetorical question, Joe?

When Sandy Fluke’s birth control and Barack Obama’s birth certificate isn’t distracting ‘em enough from that 58 and change percent employment rate, they gotta get creative.

Also this: Glowing tribute to the war leader in the NYT. Election year propaganda piece, agonizing decisions by war hero. LBJ stuff again.

Assassination has never been official US government policy. At least, not trumpeted in the media. Why the shift in policy, and was Congress consulted and if not, why aren’t they moving to impeach him?

Here’s the part I love;  a couple of years ago, the Twin Cities’ media “elite” sat in rapt attention as Seymour Hersh claimed that Joint Special Operations Command – the black bag people – were Bush and Cheney’s personal hit squad, assassinating people without recourse or even consulting with…the State Department.  It was going to be in his new book, maaan!

And now?

Even the crickets at the Strib don’t care.

Note that at least two of the victims are specifically identified as Americans. When a federal government official proposes to deprive an American citizen of liberty or property, the Constitution requires that the citizen be given due process including, at a minimum, notice and an opportunity to be heard by an impartial tribunal.

Citizen X is a terrorist? Says who, Axelrod? I’m not arguing there must be an arrest, extradition, legal aid lawyer and televised show trial; but has there at least been some independent review of the charges and the evidence, or is this a secret Star Chamber enemies list and where’s the Constitutional authority for the President to accuse, convict and execute Americans in secret?

I have no problems with a take-no-prisoners approach if we’re serious about it. Go full Roman on them, slay every male, drive the women out of the country weeping, leave no stone atop another, salt the earth. Can’t see Obama doing it. His alternative of picking off bad guys one-by-one really is like Whack-A-Mole in the narcotics or organized crime fighting business. In a world with a billion adherents to a violent religion, there will always be another guy to take the place of the one you just killed, which is why killing Bin Laden didn’t end the problem.

It’s bad enough, trying to pretend Barak Obama reading papers in his office is the equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt leading the charge up San Juan Hill. Having the media polishing the man’s war credentials for electoral benefit by blowing operational security is worse than asinine.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

We live in a city where the media just trampled over (or enabled the trampling over) the law to get a new football stadium.

Think the NYTimes wouldn’t light Barack’s Obama’s cigar with the Bill of Rights?

“Ignorance And Incompetence”

Remember when Barack Obama, the smooth-talking “smart’ Ivy Leaguer, was going to improve our standing overseas with his “smart diplomacy?”

Either do the people of Poland:

During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that [Polish underground hero Jan] Karski “served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

The administration is claiming President Obama “mis-spoke” – and, truth be told, I get that.  The extermination camps were in Poland.

Which had, as it happens, been occupied with exceptional brutality by the Nazis, who considered the Poles very nearly as untermensch as the Jews.  Calling the death camps “Polish” is like calling Wounded Knee “Native American” or slavery “African”; technically accurate, morally tone-deaf.

Said Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk:

“It’s a pity that such a dignified ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.”

I’m just going to go and bask in all that newfound respect we’ve gotten.

UPDATE:  By the way – I scanned in vain for a sign that any of the local TV stations covered this flap this morning.  They covered the fact that Bob Dylan also got a Presidential Medal of Freedom – but hey, he’s from Minnesota, right?

But they also noted Madeleine Albright, one of the worst Secretaries of State we’ve ever had, and certainly not a local angle.

I bring it up because it’s become a bit of a chanting point among the Twin Cities far left that Twin Cities TV stations are “conservative”.

Seems a bit of a reach, is all I’m saying.

Open Letter To Helga Braid Nation

Senator Sean Nienow explains his votes on the Vikings stadium – and its half-billion-dollar infusion of public money –  in the Isanti-Chisago Star

It wasn’t just the price tag that compelled me to vote against sending the bill to the governor. It has a structurally unsound funding mechanism and it ignores and belittles the expressed will of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.

Not just belittled us, but insulted our intelligence.  I’m not someone who’s built a lot of “cherished family memories” around our underachieving football franchise – and I feel sorry for those that have.

Beyond that, though?  The Vikes’ strategy – ratchet up the sentiment, and then threaten to pull all of that out and go to LA (without threatening it directly, since it’d be a stupid idea for the NFL, and anyone who isn’t blinded by sentiment knows it) – was a masterpiece of cynical PR arm-twisting.  Also loathsome.

Nienow repeats some of the fiscal cautionary notes that many of us have been sounding for months:

In order to pay for the stadium, charitable gaming will need to more than double. To raise enough revenue, charitable gambling will have to increase about 130 percent over current levels. That increased level of charitable gambling will then have to be maintained for 30 years. Put that into the context of reality: Charitable gambling decreased 31 percent over 10 years.

You can see we are bucking a negative trend with hopes that we will reverse the trend, increase gambling by much more than double and then keep up that level of gambling for three decades. When this mechanism proves unsustainable and short on revenue, you the taxpayer will be on the hook to pay the stadium bills.

When that happens, it will be money taken directly from education, health care and other services we provide, to pay for the stadium.

Oddly, the governor and mainstream media were very, very quiet about this “feature” of the stadium “deal”.

Another provision in the law is not even for the Vikings stadium-refurbishing Target Center. Minneapolis residents recently added a requirement to their city charter requiring a public vote before the city spends more than $10 million fixing a sports arena. This law eliminates that expressed will of the people.

If today we can ignore their will, tomorrow it can be yours. That’s a dangerous precedent.

And it’s just a matter of time before the next major league franchise will be wanting new digs.

XCel is over fifteen and pushing twenty, after all; Target Center is twenty and change; “renovations” aside, both of those clubs will be demanding new stadiums before too long.

And their idiot fans will put on their jerseys and their wolf masks and mob the capitol and demand that the next bunch of gullible weak-kneed “moderate” saps do the will of the team and the Strib.

My question was always “If we don’t stop this organized larceny of the public largesse, who will?  If not us, who?”

Nienow, and most of the freshman class of Republicans, voted to let the 1% pay for their own real estate upgrade, and this blog thanks them.

Read the whole thing.

And get ready.  Because I figure we’re less than a decade away from the next such campaign.

(NOTE:  Kudos to Mr. D, who – to the best of my knowledge – coined the term “Helga Braid Nation”).

Onward!

As of today, barring a major electoral cataclysm, Mitt Romney should get enough delegates from the Texas primary to clinch the nomination.

Now, three months ago – back around caucus time – we had a lot of flags planted in a lot of beaches; “I’m for Newt, and if Mitt wins I’ll sit this thing out” and such.

Which was fine, back then, when the goal was to push for your candidates.  You wanted them to win; that’s why you push for them.  And as a secondary goal, you do it to push other candidates in the desired direction (and for most of us, that direction is “right”).

But today it’s all but official.  Romney’s going to be the nominee.

So – has that changed your approach to the campaign?

I don’t do “open thread” posts around here – but feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

Ten Years Of Power

I never actually knew the official anniversary – but I’m happy to send my congratulations to my good friends John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson at Power Line, who celebrated their megablog’s tenth anniversary over the weekend.

You may recall that my blog celebrated its tenth last February; of the Twin Cities’ huge mass of conservative political blogs, it’s Power Line, Ed Morrissey, Lileks, King Banaian of the late SCSU Scholars and the Fraters who’ve been in it since the very beginning.   And sometimes it’s hard to remember, in those pre-MOB days, what a solitary thing blogging was.

For those of you who notice how omnipresent blogs are today, it’s almost funny reading this piece from Brian Ward, back around election time in 2002, when all of us, Brian and Chad at the Fraters and Scott, John and Paul at Power Line were not only brand new, we hadn’t the faintest idea each other existed:

 A month ago I didn’t know of any quality blogs devoted to the local scene, which made me think that perhaps a niche existed that was crying out to be filled. But since then, I’ve become aware of both Power Line and Mitch Berg and they’re both outstanding in exactly this type of coverage (and they consistently link to local media nuggets before I do!) It makes me think that maybe I can dial back my own political coverage and commentary and concentrate more on my real interests. That would be college women’s volleyball scores, my continuing search for the perfect Hungarian Ghoulash recipe, and celebrating the poetry of Leonard Nimoy. Now that’s a niche that needs filling.

It’d be almost a year before I’d meet Brian and King face to face for a drink at Sweeney’s on Dale, and fourteen months before the fateful meeting that led eventually to the forming of the Northern Alliance Radio Network” – and all that’s happened since.   And in those ten years, John, Scott, Paul and company have built one of the most estimable presences in the conservative alt-media, topped with the rhetorical pelts of Dan Rather and not a few lesser lefty lights.

Anyway, happy anniversary, guys!

The Suspense Is Killing Mildly Agitating Me

From “Common Cause Minnesota”‘s Twitter account yesterday afternoon:

Common Cause, ACLU, and League of Women Voters plan big announcement tomorrow on voter ID amendment. Stay tuned ‪#stribpol‬

Let me guess – a lawsuit by a couple of astroturf DFL fronts to try to use the courts to block the will of the elected legislature?

The Exposed Intellectual Id Of The DFL, Chapter CXXVI

Today’s example of the DFL’s exposed intellectual id is Nicholas Dolphin of (where else) Minneapolis, who wrote a letter to the editor in the Strib - featured, naturally, as their “letter of the day” about a week ago.

Mr. Dolphin wrote:

State Rep. Kurt Bills, newly endorsed by the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate race, is quoted as saying “we sent a lawyer, a community organizer and a comedian to Washington, D.C., and we get an economy that looks like it does today.”

The line is cute, “quippy” and closely follows the Republican playbook established years ago by Karl Rove. In football, it is called a misdirection play.

At the risk of saying “I know you are but what is Kurt?” that is, itself, a misdirection.  Not only did Rove himself not invent that “play”, Mr. Dolphin would divert the conversation from Mr. Bills’ point, which was “Have the efforts of the lawyer, the community organizer and the comedian made your life better than it was four years ago”?

That’d be a laughable premise, wouldn’t it?  Obama, Klobama and A-Frank have presided over an economic debacle!

But that’s apparently not the real subject to Mr. Dolphin::

In politics, it says that when your qualifications are nowhere near those of your opponent, go personal and cute while avoiding actual résumé or accomplishment comparisons.

The avoidance/misdirection here is the omission of the qualifications of that lawyer (Sen. Amy Klobuchar), community organizer (President Obama, who’s actually a lawyer, too) and comedian (Sen. Al Franken).

“Accomplishment comparisons”.

“Qualifications”.

Heh.

We’ll come back to that.

The three possess undergraduate degrees, respectively, from Yale, Columbia and Harvard. Klobuchar’s and Obama’s law degrees come from the University of Chicago and Harvard, respectively. And none of these individuals received a legacy admission.

Depending on the source, the lowest-ranked of those five degrees is Harvard Law, at No. 5 nationally. Franken, with his undergraduate degree from the No. 2 undergraduate university in the United States (No. 2 in the world) is really pulling down the average here.

Well, isn’t that special.

Look – the very best thing that an Ivy League or Tier 1 education says about someone is that between the ages of 14 and 25 (give or take a few years either way) they understood the importance of playing the paper chase well enough to punch all the academic, extracurricular and social tickets it took to impress an Ivy League or Tier 1 admissions committee enough to admit them, and to get the scholarships, loans and aid it took to get a shot at spending four to seven years getting sufficient grades (adjusted for Ivy-League grade inflation) to get access to that most coveted benefit of the Ivy League education; the alumni directory.   And that is the very, very best thing it says; in most cases, it bespeaks family social connections, generations in the upper-middle class, family wealth, or political correctness.  Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those, but none of them imply any special merit…

…and that’s just with a brand-new graduate.  After one has gotten that precious diploma copy of the alumni directory, the only question any rational person cares about is “what  have you done lately?”  People who barber on about their Ivy League diplomas after age 25 resemble Andy Bernard from The Office more and more with every passing year.

And those who do it on their behalf?  That’s just sad.

Because in this, an election year, the only question that matters is “What have you done for us lately?”

Do Obama’s degrees from Columbia and Harvard make his multiplication of our national debt, turbucharging our spending and embarkIing on a regulatory and tax course that will sooner than later cripple our private sector and send us briskly down the Greek and Spanish path seem like good ideas?

Does A-Klo’s time at Yale and U-Chi make her sotto voce vote for Obama’s medical device tax – which is already hammering Minnesota industry, and we ain’t seen nothing yet – anything but a disaster for the state she “represents?”

Have Franken’s Harvard degree and decades as  smug snarksmith evolved him into anything but a reliable legislative ticket-puncher on the road to ruin?

Have all their degrees made your life any better than it was four years ago?

Because that is the only question anyone should care about today.

And it’s Mr. Dolphin that’s doing the misdirecting – because while none of Obama, Klobama or Mr. Smalley’s degrees have helped any of us one iota, they sure do look impressive!

Bills’ alma mater, Winona State University, is a nice local school that doesn’t attract the same caliber of student and whose graduates would be better served not denigrating people whose academic accomplishments dwarf their own.

And leaving aside the misdirection, Mr. Dolphin has done Minnesotans one sterling service here; he’s highlighted as clearly as anyone ever has the smarmy authoritarianism of “progressivism”.   You mere peasants with your degrees from state schools should shut up and pay your taxes let your betters do your thinking for you, doncha know.

Mr. Dolphin; Abraham Lincoln was self-taught.  Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College.   Most of the world’s great achievements (outside of medicine and hard science) came from people who did things, rather than waved their degrees around.

I’ve come to the opinion that an Ivy League degree should be, if not a disqualifier for higher office, at least a hurdle to be overcome with some counterbalancing achievement in life since graduation.

And that’d be a hurdle over which Obama, Klobuchar nor Franken have all stumbled, fallen and face-planted.

Place Your Bets

How long before Lori Sturdevant starts clucking and exuding victorian vapours that there seems to be no room for “moderates” in the DFL?

Of course, only in a place like Saint Paul could Senator and former police chief John Harrington be considered a “moderate”.  The guy’s got the ABM chanting points down as pat as he ever had the Miranda statement:

“Show me one example of where somebody had fraudulently voted here. Oh, you don’t have one. You have no evidence.

Other than tens of thousands of provisional voting cards – the cards filled out when their vote is questionable, and their ballot is already in the hopper – being returned because the listed person didn’t live at the address?  Other than people listing laundromats as residences?   Dozens of felons convicted?  Hundreds of other cases found, but tossed because, under Minnesota law, “I didn’t know” is an excuse?

Nope.  No evidence at all.

Harrington said he was similarly disheartened during debate this year on the “castle doctrine” self-defense bill, which would have given Minnesotans greater freedom to defend their homes with deadly force. Law enforcement objected to the proposal, saying it could endanger officers, and Dayton ultimately vetoed it.

Of course, there, there’s no evidence.

But while Senator Harrington would be considered, by the vast majority of the US between the Hudson and the Sierra Mare, a “flaming liberal”, he was just tooooo moderate for the whackdoodles of the eastside DFL:

Harrington faced two challengers — Tom Dimond and Foung Hawj — for the party’s endorsement. After four ballots, Harrington had a slight lead over Dimond, a carpenter and former city council member. Delegates decided on no endorsement because it was clear neither candidate could capture the 60 percent needed for the party’s backing. Harrington had 46 percent, Dimond 40 percent, and Hawj had no votes on the last ballot.

Dimond seemed to resonate with delegates who thought Harrington was too conservative for his district and has done little to reach out to Democratic-Farmer-Labor activists since his election. Harrington, however, insisted he was politically attuned to his constituents.

And it’s pretty likely he was.  The East Side is a largely run-down area, hard-hit by the recession, perpetually in transition.  It’s been a destination for new Americans since, well, it existed; wave after wave of immigrants, from German to Irish to Swedish to Italian to Black to Latino to Vietnamese to H’mong to Somali, have coursed through the area, learned to do the American thing, and then moved – first north of Maryland, then out to the ‘burbs.  Most of them are conservatives – they just don’t know that means “republican” in this country.

The DFL “activists”, on the other hand, are vastly more radically left-leaning than their constituents – and farther left than the GOP is to the right.  Harrington – pragmatic local fixer that he is – didn’t pass the progressive purity test.

I’ll await the hand-wringing from the media.

Literal

It’s become one of my pet peeves – the epidemic misuse of the word “literal”.  It was sent up here…:

…and yes, I see myself as the crazy guy. Because the comic isn’t just comedy; it’s a bit of journalism. Liberal bobblehead Congresswoman Gwen Moore, appearing on the Ed Schultz show, with emphasis added, speaking about the GOP Womens Caucus:

MOORE: And so they are as battered, they are literally battered women in that caucus. Time and again, they’ve been forced to vote against the interests of women and the consequences for not voting with the Republican Party are great.

“Battered women”.

As in, hit with bats? Punched?

I mean, you just, male or female, just look at Dick Lugar who cooperated with the president. Or I’m thinking of Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), who was in that video. She had a primary and was beaten in a primary.

“The new Democrat Party: not being one of us is a mental condition”

Repairs

On this Memorial Day weekend, I thought we’d remember an amazing event in the history of American enterprise.

It was seventy years ago today that the most important repair job in American history began.

The aircraft carrier USS Yorktown had begun its life six years earlier, as one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “economic stimuli” as the administration prepared for what they saw – correctly, this time – as an inevitable war with Japan.

The carrier was an important ship; America’s previous carriers were had been two converted battlecruisers (the Lexington and Saratoga) and an unsuccessful, too-small USS Ranger (*). The Yorktown served as the lead ship of a class of two other carriers, the Hornet and Enterprise, that themselves served as the prototypes for the 24 wartime Essex class – by far the biggest class of aircraft carriers in history, and one of the most successful classes of warships ever, which served in front-line service into the seventies, and as training and reserve ships until the nineties.

But that was all in the future.

Yorktown had spent the first months of the war escorting convoys and raiding isolated Japanese garrisons when intelligence discovered a Japanese invasion fleet heading for Port Moresby, an isolated and malarial outpost on the eastern end of New Guinea of little economic or demographic influence…

…except that it had enough flat ground to build a big enough airport to put northern Australia, and all maritime traffic in the area, under threat of Japanese air attack.

The two American carriers, Lexington and Yorktown, sank one small Japanese carrier, and drove off the invasion fleet.  In return, the Japanese sank the Lexington, and after the Yorkdown’s captain dodged eight near misses from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes, the Yorktown was hit by a single Japanese bomb that killed or injured 66 men.

The engineers on board figured it’d take three months in a shipyard to repair the damage.

The battle – almost unknown to Americans today – was crucial; it was a tactical defeat for the Americans, who lost a carrier, a tanker and a destroyer, with Yorktown badly damaged.  But it marked the high-water line for Japanese expansion.  The six month wave of success had ended.  That was a strategic win for the US – the first of the war.

But Naval Intelligence indicated the Japanese didn’t know that yet; signs pointed to an attempt to invade Midway Island, by way of staging for a potential invasion or neutralization of Hawaii.  And if Midway fell, and Hawaii was jeopardized, that “strategic victory” would mean little.

And the US had almost nothing to respond with; six months after Pearl Harbor, there were no seaworthy battleships in the Pacific; worse, we were down to two functional aircraft carriers, Enterprise and Hornet had just returned from the Doolittle Raid, and Saratoga was in a long refit in San Francisco.

That was it.

So the commander of the US Pacific Fleet took a desperate gamble; he sent Yorktown back to Pearl Harbor, and mobilized the entire base’s civilian and military workforce to do the unthinkable; get Yorktown ready for battle in three days, rather than three months.

Yorktown in drydock at Pearl Harbor This is where the repair work was done.

And so for the next 72 hours, a horde of sailors and dockyard workers swarmed over the ship; they repaired the massive structural damage from the bomb, and the leaking from the fuel tanks whose walls had been shredded by shrapnel from the near-misses, causing Yorktown to trail an oil slick all the way home from the battle of the Coral Sea.

And it worked.  Right on schedule, after three days of frenzied, 24-hour-a-day work, Yorktown departed Pearl Harbor, escorted by a small gaggle of cruisers and destroyers, to join Hornet and Enterprise on a fast voyage to the central Pacific…

…whose destination we’ll talk about in a couple of days here.

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For Greater NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talkradio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • Ed and I are both in the studio this week, from 1-3PM.  We’ll be talking with the Minnesota Warriors – a hockey team for disabled veterans – as well as with some folks from the movie “For Greater Glory“. and Mark Stefan, GOP endorsed candidate in House District 44B.
  • The King Banaian Show! - King is on AM1570, Business Radio for the Twin Cities!  Join him from 9-11 every Saturday!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

  • AM1280 in the Metro
  • streaming at AM1280’s Website,
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  • Podcasts are now available on the AM1280 page!  (Ed and I are #2 – Brad is #3).
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Join us!

For The Low-Information Voters

I’ve got stereotypes.  We all have ‘em.  It’s one of the ways humans process the nearly infinite number of permutations of human behavior into a mentally-manageable size.

For example, intellectually I know that journalists behave in as many differnet ways as there are journalists.  Indeed, they may be have in up to double the number of ways as there are journos – because not a few journalists behave completely differently in their personal and vocational lives.  I do know this, in my brain.

But the stereotype I have is that journos, drawn as they are largely from the strata of society that is wired to be “progressives”, trained at institutions whose general left-leaning bias has always been omnipresent, especially in the departments (journalism, humanities and social and zephyr-soft sciences) that tend to spawn journos, and who work their entire careers in, and develop entire networks of sources and colleagues and social lives among, institutions that tend to be left of center – government, academia, the activist community and the like, will, when in doubt and the chips are down, swerve left.  Maybe not intentially (although some do), maybe just as a result of confirmation bias (as many do) – but to the left they do indeed swerve.

And part of the stereotype is that that those stereotypical liberally-marinated journos will pick the parts of “the truth” that fit their worldview – aka “confirmation bias” – and pass it along as the unvarnished truth.  Not maliciously, usually, but with absolute certainty that they, or people like them, are indeed the fonts of the absolute indisputable truth.

Which brings us to Erik Black at the MinnPost who, er, minnposted an article the other day  entitled, as luck would have it, Stereotypical Thinking About Political Parties Is Often Just Flat Inaccurate.

When it comes to race, gender and ethnicity, we are urged to guard against stereotypical thinking. But how about when it comes to presidents? How about when it comes to political parties?

Stereotypical thinking about political parties is extremely powerful and often highly misleading, unfair and just flat inaccurate.

As a gun-owning custody-reform-advocating pro-life conservative who is frequently called a violent insecure wife-beating woman-hating uneducated dummy, I could hardly agree more.

So far.

But then Black follows it with

Read the following sentences slowly and carefully.

Scoring the last eight presidential terms according to the spending that occurred under the budget signed by that president, federal spending increased at the fastest rate during the first Reagan term (an increase of 8.7%). It went up the second fastest during the second term of George W. Bush (8.1%). It went up the slowest during the current term of Barack Obama (1.4%.) The second and third slowest periods of federal spending growth occurred under the two terms of Bill Clinton.

These numbers from this piece by Rex Nutting who writes for MarketWatch, which is an arm of the Wall Street Journal. They are based on Congressional Budget Office numbers.

And there, in turn, is a bit of stereotyping from Black; as if the Wall Street Journal byline makes it conservative, ergo against Black’s interest.  It’s just not always so – but, again, that’s why stereotypes exist.

In case you don’t click through, here are the graphics from Nutting/MarketWatch:

..

And since it comes from MarketWatch and the WSJ – journalists! - it must be accurate, right?  It must have compared apples with apples throughout – ya?

You know where this is leading – right?

MarketWatch’s Nutting did not compare apples with apples, but rather swerved between CBO figures and Obama’s own numbers for no apparent reason but with the result, mirabile dictu, of inflating Bush’s (as opposed to his Democrat Congress’) spending and lowering Obama’s in comparison, and uses CBO numbers that are known to be wildly inaccruate.

And he has an infographic of his own.   It’s below the jump (because it’s very, very long)

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Back To The Parental Plantation

On most issues, I’m pretty detached – clinical, really.  Politics, really, is mostly just politics.

But my blood shot from Scandinavian cool to full boil yesterday with the news that our plutocratic playboy rent-a-governor vetoed the Custody Reform bill we talked about earlier this week:

Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the final bill of 2012, an attempt to change the child custody formula to guarantee parents more time with their children

“Both proponents and opponents make compelling arguments in support of their respective positions,” Dayton wrote in a Thursday letter to the Legislature, after opting not to sign the custody bill, essentially issuing a pocket veto of the legislation.

Right now, Minnesota law presumes that both parents in a custody settlement will get a minimum amount of time — 25 percent of the year — with their child. The bill would have increased that minimum to 35 percent.

Supporters of the change said it would give non-custodial parents more quality time with a child than every other weekend and two weeks during the summer — a breakdown that doesn’t even equal 25 percent of the child’s year.

The bill isn’t the bill that I wanted – which would have created a rebuttable presumption that joint physical custody was in the best interests of the children involve.d

No, this will merely created a presumption (rebuttable, of course) that children should have 35% of their time with the “non-custodial parent”, and that this calculation should be used in calculating child support. .

And that would have been very, very much in the “best interest of the children”:

Opponents said the new formula took control away from courts and was designed to represent a parent’s interest more than the child’s.

That is a completely meaningless phrase – one that the bill’s various opponents have been chanting mindlessly ever since the veto came out, and can only have come from someone who doesn’t have children, or has never dealt with chidlren of otherwise-capable divorced parents.

What could be more in the “best interest of the children” than spending more time with both parents?

In his letter to lawmakers, Dayton said there was too much uncertainty about how the change in the custody formula might affect children. But he urged lawmakers to take up debate on the issue again during the 2013 session.

When, he hopes, a DFL majority will make it a non-issue.  Otherwise, he’ll veto it again.

Look – Governor Dayton’s veto was loathsome unforgiveable, and I hope he answers to a higher power for it someday.  But it’s understandable; he’s acting at the bidding of the radical feminists who are among his most vital constituents.  And radical feminists hate any divorce reform – because that would involve reforming the transfer of money from men to women that has sprung from the de facto alimony system that the child support system has become.

But I’m not as angry with Governor Dayton  - who, let’s be honest, isn’t doing any of the thinking, he’s just doing what his shareholders tell him to do – as I am with the legislators of both parties who cut the guts out of the original reform proposal (which would have created the rebuttable presumption of joint physical custody).   They, not our playboy plutocrat rent-a-governor, are the ones who see and hear the pain caused by the barbarism of our current divorce system.

(Yes, I’m looking at  you, Steve Smith; if you run in the primary, I will do everything I can to see that Cindy Pugh crushes you without mercy).

Dakota County: Can You Do Better?

We’ve been writing for years about Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom.

Mostly in the context of his pattern of lying about the law – in this case, about Stand Your Ground law proposals.  He’s repeatedly written op-eds about the law which completely misrepresent current and proposed law – making me wonder out loud how it is that a county attorney can be allowed to actively mislead the population about the law, like we’re a bunch of suspects under interrogation.

So with that context in mind, I suppose it’s good, if disturbing, to know that Backstrom does the same thing to other government employees.  Backstrom’s strong-arming of a Medical Examiner was behind the throwing out of the conviction of Nicole Beecroft, who was convicted of stabbing her baby to death in 2007.  I’ve added some emphasis:

However, medical examiners disagreed on whether the baby was already dead at the time of the stabbing. Beecroft’s attorneys struggled to convince the dissenting medical examiners to participate in the defense, in part because the medical examiners feared they would be fired, the Supreme Court found.

The Court’s opinion, written by Justice Paul Anderson, cited emails sent by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to Dakota County Medical Examiner Lindsey Thomas in which Backstrom argued that it would be a conflict of interest for Dakota County medical examiners to work with defense attorneys. “If you wish to be a defense expert, you should not be a public official representing Dakota County as our coroner,” Backstrom wrote in a Nov. 5, 2008 email.

And just like Stand Your Ground – Backstrom is either ignorant of the law, or counting on his subjects constituents co-workers being ignorant about it:

State law says medical examiners are independent and can testify for either the prosecution or the defense. Most of the state’s roughly two dozen forensic pathologists work for local counties. If medical examiners could not testify for the defense, the Supreme Court opinion noted, defendants would have to request expensive help from medical examiners in other states.

So think about this, voters of Dakota County.

You’re smart people.  You have a pretty successful county.

Can’t you do better than this?

Just saying, any of you attorneys out there who might be thinking about running against Backstrom next chance you get; let me know how I can help.

Critical Ass

One of the things I miss about my current job is that I can’t bike it to work.

Not that’s too far – the distance would be a nice challenge, and there are some park ‘n rides halfway there for days when I don’t want a challenge.

But there’s no place to take a shower at the office, or anywhere near it – the only gym close enough to even think about is still 3-4 miles away and, worse, would involve a pretty challenging route to get from the gym to the office, which means I’d need another shower when I got there.

Anyway, apropos not much, Joe Doakes of Como Park writes:

Driving downtown St. Paul this morning, it occurred to me there was one nice thing about the rain – it would keep the bicycle riders away. No sooner had the thought entered my head than a bicycle rider appeared.

It’s 7:15 a.m. It’s raining. It’s gloomy. I’m on Wabasha Street at 7th – smack downtown in rush hour traffic. This simple soul rides off the curb into traffic on a black mountain bike wearing a black helmet, black jacket, black pants and black shoes. Then he “splits” traffic riding up the dotted lines between cars stopped for a red light before sticking his black-clad arm out and swerving left in front of a truck to turn onto 5th, causing an accordion of nose-dives and brake lights cascading back toward the Capital.

He had a grubby yellow saddlebag slung on the portside of his rack and one tiny red light on his saddle, blinking like a firefly possessed by a demon; that’s it, that’s his safety system. Everybody else was supposed to be watching out for him between the sea of taillights, the drops on the windshield, the smear left by the wipers.

What.

An.

Idiot.

Smear – that’s about what I expected when he cut off that delivery van. I honestly think I would have stopped to get out and spit on him.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

That’s the problem with those Critical Mass riders; they try to do their same schtick when they are not a critical mass…

My Evening In SD33

Last night I drove out to Wayzata to give a seconding speech for Dave Osmek and his candidacy for the MN Senate.

For starters, I love driving from Saint Paul and its stifling, smug DFL rule to the parts of the state that actually work – and thus are governed by the GOP.  Places built by hard work, merit, frugality – conservatism.  I love the smell of an R+20 district; it smells like…

…freedom.  Freedom and liberty and prosperity and everything that makes America great.

The inclement weather offered an opportunity…

…as I’d hoped there’d be a huge crash of thunder when I hit my big applause line.

That was not to be.  But the rest of the evening went pretty well.

My first clue I wasn’t in CD4 anymore?

There were nearly 300 voting delegates.  In a Senate district.  That’s more than we had in all of CD4.

It's a full house - almost 300 delegates That's retiring Senator Gen Olson speaking.

 

Dave’s a long-time friend of the NARN, so it was absolutely my pleasure.  He was running against Connie Doepke, as well as longtime conservative activist Bonn Clayton (who, I did not know, is the father of Tea Party majordomo Mara Souvannasoth.  You learn something new every day!).

It took four ballots – which was the maximum according to the convention rules – but Osmek pulled out to an early lead, and was within two votes of the 60% threshold at the third ballot.  Clayton withdrew and threw his delegates to Osmek after the third, which led to an 81-19% endorsement.

Then the district split into two rooms.  I walked to the cafeteria to cover the House District 33B contest between incumbent Steve Smith and challengers Pam Langseth and Cindy Pugh.

I got a sense of the tenor of the event; Smith, a moderate (who’s earned my personal ire by opposing Joint Physical Custody legislation for years) seems to have been districted out of much relevance, at least within the party.  He had a small clutch of supporters wedged between a large group for Langseth, and an even bigger group for Tea Party organizer Pugh.

I had no idea how much bigger, of course; when the first ballot came back, Pugh had about 68% of the vote, blowing past the margin for endorsement.  Langseth netted about 20 points, meaning that the incumbent Smith netted around 10% of the vote.  I was sitting next to his delegation; he did not look happy, and it did sound as if he was ready to go to a primary against Pugh.

As, scuttlebutt had it, Doepke was going to do too, against Osmek; Twitter traffic painted her as still thinking about it.

As to the A side?  That race – former Senate candidate Joe Arwood and another challenger – are going to the primary too.   They came, literally, to a tie; 75 votes each, 35 shy of endorsement.  So to the primary we go!

But that’s all for August.  For last night?

It’s a great sign when a Republican CD votes conservative.  While both Doepke and Smith   made reassuringly conservative-sounding speeches, both seemingly got hung up by positions they’d taken in Saint Paul that weren’t so much; Doepke voted for the New Generation Energy Act and the Stadium, and against Stand your Ground; Smith voted with the Real Americans on Stand your Ground, but has caved on more than a few other issues.  The district didn’t buy it, clearly.

And it’s gratifying to see a district that doesn’t give a crap what Lori Sturdevant’s going to say about it.

It smells like…victory.

Counter-Press

The Forest Lake Times is running a poll to try to undercut new 4th CD legislators Senator Ray Vandeveer and Rep. Bob Dettmer, asking if people support their votes against the stadium.

So if you do in fact support their votes, just for the fun of it, why not zip out to the Flaketimes site, go to the “poll” section in the lower right corner, and vote a “Yes”?

Not that it’s of earth-shattering importance, but the little wins are fun too.