Redistricting: The DFL Got Its Money’s Worth

Was it the money the DFL spent over the past twenty-odd years pushing for the appointment of left-leaning judges?

Was it the money they spent pressuring largely DFL and moderate GOP-controlled legislatures to confirm DFL-friendly judges?

Or was in the money the national left poured into astroturf pressure groups like “Draw The Line” and “Common Cause“, which spent years and millions putting a non-partisan, politic face on the DFL’s naked push for power at any cost?

Or was it all the money that Darth Lillehaug billed?

Who cares?  The DFL got what they needed; another ten year reprieve from irrelevancy:

Most observers surprised that lege map didn’t yield bigger Republican advantageIn the first hours and days after the state’s new redistricting maps landed at the Capitol Tuesday, the collective sense of relief among Minnesota Democrats was unmistakable. Many DFLers admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the final rendering of the state’s new political boundaries, which will help determine the outcome of elections for the next decade. “What was it Churchill said?” smiled one suburban House Democrat. “There’s nothing as exhilarating as being shot at and missed?”Republicans were not so pleased.

The piece is by Briana Biersbach at PIM, and it’s very much worth a read.

Let’s be clear here; the biggest news in the redistricting was that it didn’t reflect what most credible observers on both sides saw  as the inevitable; that rapid growth in healthy, well-run GOP-represented areas wasn’t reflected in the new map, while the mismanaged, needy, sclerotic DFL parts of the state are now disproportionally represented.

The real losers? All of you people who moved to the exurbs and central MN to get away from the DFL.

Crimes And Misdemeanors Against Fact

Yesterday, I tackled a Strib op-ed by Jim Backstrom.  Backstrom, the Dakota County Attorney, wrote the latest in a long string of fact-challenged diatribes against the rights of the rigorously-law-abiding gun owner.

Now, Backstrom – who is not just an elected public official, but one in charge of enforcing the law by prosecuting accused criminals in Dakota County – has been misrepresenting facts  when it comes to the law-abiding gun owner for years.

Of course, we do have a First Amendment.  Freedom of Speech means freedom to lie like a sack of crap.  And as a general rule, I support the idea that the best way to respond to bad, stupid, misleading, lying speech is by responding with the truth, and more of it.  And I’m not changing that.

But I do have two questions:

Professionalism:  If a doctor were to go in the Star/Tribune and not just declare that, research notwithstanding, smoking cigarettes is in fact good for you, what would happen?  Would she be castigated?  Shunned by her fellow physicians?  Accused of professional malfeasance?  Have her records gone over by dogs trained to sniff out whackdoodelry?

Have her professionalism questioned for giving advice to the public that is directly counter to fact?

So why is it that Jim Backstrom – the chief prosecutor of one of Minnesota’s larger counties – is allowed, as a matter of professional integrity, to misrepresent Minnesota criminal law?  Because as I pointed out yesterday, that’s exactly what he did in yesterday’s op-ed, and in many before it.

Is there no requirement, legal or professional, that lawyers, especially lawyers who are public officials and officers of the court, refrain from actively and blatantly misrepresenting the laws they are charged with enforcing?

(Of course there is no legal requirement; I’d suspect that the same court decisions that allow cops to lie to suspects to trick them into giving information applies to county attorneys lying in the newspaper to the sheeple they’re responsible for herding).

Shouldn’t there be?

I mean, other than the next Dakota County attorney’s election?  Although as a point of principle, DakCo residents should take umbrage at a county attorney who lies about the law.  Even you liberals; if he misrepresents laws about self-defense, who’s to say the next one won’t be, I dunno, Voter ID?

The Same Old Song To The Same Old Beat: And yet again, the Strib prints without question or serious comment the opinion of someone who is simply empirically wrong about the subject.  On subject after subject, it’s been the Strib’s op-ed stock in trade for decades – and on none more than on the law-abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves.

The Strib continues to print the fact-less ravings of Heather Martens, Wes Skoglund, David Lillehaug, and of course Backstrom, without fact-check, without “gatekeeping”, without question, apparently for no other reason than (save Martens) they are big important (liberal) public officials.

Now, does anyone think the Strib would continue to publish, without question, op-eds from the doctor that claimed smoking was good for you?  Or would the circular-file his submissions after a while?

If that doctor were a powerful DFLer, apparently not.

Call For David Lillehaug!

The woman that killed the Colorado spree-killer was a “security guard” in the same sense that I’m a “news reporter”.

She – former Minneapolis cop Jeanne Assam – is a citizen with a standard Colorado carry permit. She and other parishioners volunteered to watch over the church in the wake of news of an earlier shooting.  She was not employed as a guard; she was, literally, a civilian from the congregation who’d volunteered to keep an eye on comings and goings at the sprawling megachurch in the wake of the earlier shootings at the missionary school.

David Hardy notes:

Many people are expressing relief that a volunteer security guard used her own gun to stop a man on a shooting spree Sunday. “She probably saved over 100 lives,” the Brady Boyd, the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, said on Monday… Ahab has confirmed the lady who brought down the killer was not a church employee, and was carrying her personal gun.

The media – nationwide and locally – seems to be making an effort to make Assam look like an “official” security guard rather than an armed citizen:

But the AP coverage describes her as “a member of the church’s armed security staff” and “the security guard.” Since it quotes the pastor much the same way as the CNS story does, it sounds like a report on the same interview or conference. And the Rocky Mtn News describes her as “a church security officer.”

They want to see a big herd out there.

This is a huge setback to the anti-carry movement.

UPDATE: Ms. Assam would seem to be a hero…:

Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.

…but I’m just waiting to see how the Sorosphere and John Stewart titter over this bit…:

There was applause as Assam spoke to reporters and TV cameras saying, “God guided me and protected me.”…”I was praying to God that he direct me” in what to do in life, Assam said. “God made me strong.”

Any bets?

Me? No action on that bet. Too sure a thing. The only real question is “how scatological and insulting will they get?”

UPDATE 2: Greetings, CQ Readers. Ed was right – we talked about “Gun free zones” over the weekend on the NARN show, before the Colorado attacks. Ed notes:

And this is the folly of “gun-free zones”. Lunatics looking to kill people either will attack at places for which they have some animus (as in the case of the church) or where they can find a lot of unarmed people (as in Omaha). They don’t stop because someone puts up a sign designating a site as gun-free, any more than people stop taking drugs because a city puts up a sign that designates a neighborhood as a “drug-free zone”, as in my own neighborhood.

All that sign does is prevent the Jeanne Assams from being able to defend the defenseless. That’s all it does. It doesn’t make anyone more secure or safe, and it has the potential to make a lot of people into victims.

After the Virginia Tech shooting, people asked whether a CCL holder could have made a difference once the shooting started. Jeanne Assam answered that question on Sunday.

And I want to make sure that answer gets to David Lillehaug, former US Attorney for Minnesota, occasional DFL Senate candidate, and lawyer who – on behalf of a well-heeled left-leaning congregation in Edina, tried to get churches declared a de facto gun free zone without needing to bother to post any notices, and to exempt church parking lots from the state regulation that carry permittees are allowed to keep their guns in the trunks of their cars. He was behind the court case that led to the Minnesota Personal Protection Act’s temporary blockage at the hands of a DFL-pet judge for about nine months starting in June 2004.

Lillehaug leads the group that is, for me, the most insufferable pack of anti-gun zealots – the ones that wrap themselves in a suffocating mantle of misplaced piety, ignoring the words of St. Thomas Aquinas: “In order for (violence) to be justified, three things are necessary: First, the authority of the soverign [an archaic reference to Americans - we are all soveriegn, and at any rate the permit is a sign the government, acting on behalf of all of us sovereigns, thinks you're capable of defending yourself]. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention”.

Does protecting the innocent – especially our children – from mass murderers fit these criteria?

If you say “no”, be prepared to withstand a rhetorical wolverine ripping at your logical butt.

Debut

Last weekend, Ed and I had a long, interesting discussion with Eric Black, formerly of the Strib, now of the Minnesota Monitor.  One of the questions – how does journalism with an established agenda differ from journalism that, at least formally, abjures a point of view?

I don’t know that we’ll get any answers right now, but it’s an interesting question to keep in mind as you read Black’s debut on the MinMon, on what is presented to us as an awkward moment for US Attorney for Minnesota, Rachel Paulose:

Rachel Paulose, the embattled U.S. attorney for Minnesota, suffered through an awkward moment Tuesday when a retirement party for a long-serving prosecutor in her office turned into a thunderous ovation for several of Paulose’s severest critics. Word of the incident has buzzed through the Twin Cities federal legal community and become the latest symbol of a very rough 18 months since Paulose took over the top federal law enforcement job in Minnesota.

Let’s get some context in here.

The Minnesota US Attorney’s office, like the Attorney General’s Office, has been the province of Democrat-leaning lawyers for quite some time.  Paulose replaced Tom Heffelfinger, who in turn replaced David Lillehaug, whose political inclinations have led him to seek the DFL nomination to run for Senate. 

In other words, Paulose is  a very different person than Lillehaug or Heffelfinger, and brings a different agenda to the office than either of her predecessors.

How different?  As a layperson, it’s hard to know exactly what difference things like differing management styles and priorities make to people like US Prosecutors. 

And the story, unfortunately, sheds little light on that, relying on “conventional wisdom” about Paulose. 

Paulose has been under increasingly harsh public scrutiny about how her appointment is connected to the Bush administration’s alleged politicization of the Justice Department, and about how she has run the office.

But as Power Line – especially Scott Johnson – in their extensive coverage of the Paulose tempest-in-teapot has noted, that “public scrutiny” has been generated by a pretty narrow swathe of ”public”.  Katherine Kersten also lends the reader some context missing from the mainstream (and now explicitly-biased) media’s coverage. 

But let’s go to the ceremony in question, this past Tuesday:

This account of the Tuesday incident comes from people who were present but requested anonymity.

So we have not only no idea who they were and what there motivations are, but whether their story is accurate? 

Were these “people” acting independently?  Were they detached from the Paulose “controversy”? 

We don’t know.

On Tuesday afternoon, about 70 employees of the U.S. attorney’s office and other guests gathered in a big conference room to recognize the departure of Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Sekus. Sekus is leaving to join the legal staff of UnitedHealth. Paulose was present…When it was his turn to address the group, Sekus deflected the compliments that had been sent his way and said that those who deserved the praise were the former supervisors who had resigned their posts, because their actions had required courage.

And then, the chase – as apparently described to Eric Black, by anonymous “people” who may or may not have had an axe to grind with Paulose in the first place; being anonymous, we really have no idea, and are forced to trust, or “trust” (or not) a reporter from an organization which has an agenda on this issue.

At that, the room erupted with loud, sustained applause that could not be taken as anything other than solidarity with Paulose’s internal critics and appreciation for the sacrifice they had made to protest against her– clearly a spontaneous release of the tensions within the office. 

According to a witness, the ovation was so loud that it had to represent the applause of 90 percent or more of those in the room.

“Could not be taken as anything but…” – or so say an undetermined number of anonymous witnesses about whose motivations we are utterly in the dark.

Paulose was present throughout and could not have left without calling attention to herself. One of the eyewitnesses said she had a glazed look during the ovation.

Sort of like the look I’m getting, pondering the logical gaps in this story.  Words fail me.

Fortunately, they don’t fail Joel Rosenberg, who left a comment:

Okay; you’ve now established that Paulose is unpopular with (at least) much of her staff.  I thought that was well-established, but maybe you missed the reporting on that.

What you haven’t established is why — is it because she is, as some have accused her being, overbearing?  Is it that under Heffelfinger the priorities of the office were different than hers, and that the staff is chafing under new direction?  Is it similar to what happened when Lillehaug took over the office back in the ancient days — when, I believe, you were working for the Star Tribune — and the Star Tribune (at best) glossed over how half a dozen very experienced attorneys in that partisan Democrat US Attorney’s office left in the ensuing demotions and reshufflings he engaged in when he took over?  Is this better, or worse?  Is it all of those, in some mixture, or none of the above? …Guess I’m going to have to look somewhere other than in your article, which broke the news that a bunch of lawyers cheered when another retired, and you were unable to get a comment from the US Attorney on that pressing matter.

I have an anonymous witness that says that Black’s anonymous witness had a glazed look on her face.

No, I don’t.  But I could.

Seriously, Joel’s right.  No comparison, no context, no contrast, no history.

A bunch of lawyers – people famous for hating everyone – don’t like their boss. 

Mr. Black – perhaps an anonymous tipster can give us some insights on these questions.

UPDATE:  I see Brian “St. Paul” Ward reached about the same conclusion.