While Out And About Thursday Night

The CD4 and CD5 Republican Party committees are presenting the first ever “Liberty Gala”, Thursday night at the MN History Center.

From the event website:

As an unofficial countdown to the 2014 State Republican Convention, you’ll have the opportunity to visit personally with all the candidates, chat with legislators, and meet fellow Republicans from around the area and beyond. You’ll enjoy Hors D’Oeuves, entertainment and several cash bars throughout the multi-leveled great hall and atrium with breathtaking views at every angle.

Or to put it on Bond-Movie-Trailer form…:

Pass the word – and I hope you can make it!

Tickets are on sale through today.

Republicans In The City: The Good News, Part 2

Yesterday, we looked at the changes in voting in the 4th Congressional District after redestricting, and tried to give some context to what were, at face value, disappointing election results.  As I noted yesterday, the Tony Hernandez for Congress campaign had some big handicaps – fundraising was as terrible for him as it was for every other Republican, and a redistricting that was pretty benign for Betty McCollum – and a huge one, an epochal DFL turnout against the Marriage Amendment.

Most of those issues were writ larger across the river in the 5th Congressional District, covering Minneapolis and most of Hennepin County.  By all accounts, Keith Ellison was the biggest beneficiary from redistricting; the 5th CD became, on paper, even more strongly DFL than it was before.  And if anything, the 5th CD’s Republican party was even less functional last year than the 4th’s was.

But Chris Fields, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the 5th, brought the kind of game the GOP hasn’t seen in Minneapolis in way longer than I can remember.  Fields was a great candidate; he was elected Secretary of the State GOP last weekend, so hopefully he’ll be in a position to be one again soon.  He worked the district hard, had a small but highly-motivated staff, and raised a lot more money than Republicans normally do in the dismal 5th.

And so what happened?

Here are the vote totals and percentages going back to 2000:

But what does this mean in a larger historical context?

As yesterday:  the top two rows show how many more voters each party turned out in 2012 than in the year shown below.  The additional turnout for the DFL – and Ellison – in 2012 was staggering; 33,000 more than in 2008 (a great DFL year by itself), 43,000 more than in 2004 (a decent GOP year), 85,000 more than in 2000 (an excellent GOP year, outside the 5th anyway).

And as yesterday, the bottom two rows show a “rematch”; the DFL’s numbers in the listed year against Fields’ 2012 numbers.  Fields turned out over 30,000 more Republican votes than in most presidential off-years (2002 was a great year for the MNGOP), and 30,000 more than even in 2000, which was a very good GOP year throughout the US.

So what do these numbers mean?

Simply this:  the 5th remains a difficult district for Republicans.  But the combination of a strong GOP candidate, a motivated campaign that knows how to message the district (as Fields most certainly did, although the Minneapolis media was an even more bald-faced Praetorian Guard for Ellison than it was for McCollum) and raise money makes it possible for the district, as badly as it was gerrymandered, to edge closer to being a 60-40 district than a 75-25 one.  And as dismal as that seems, that’s at least within striking distance; Chip Cravaack overcame a 60-40 district in 2010.  It’s difficult – but not impossible.

And that is the mission for the GOP in both the 4th and 5th CDs; take their turf from “Impossible” to “Herculean”, and thence maybe to “Difficult”.

More candidates like Fields, like Tony Hernandez and Teresa Collett, will certainly help.

Better-organized District committees will also go a long way, as will a functional state party capable of raising money and – this is important – not undercutting the messaging of the 4th and 5th CD candidates.

And this last year, top-line percentages aside, was a decent start.

With Apologies To Jesse Ventura

Former Governor Ventura, if you’re reading this – and I am sure you are – I have to tell you that an apology is in order.

I am sorry.

For four years – including the first year of this blog’s life – I claimed that you were the biggest embarassment in the history of the state of Minnesota.

That crown – or belt, as the case may be – has been passed.  Mark Dayton, when he was a Senator, gave you a run for your money, but it was a transient thing.

But today, there’s no doubt. Keith Ellison is a morbid humiliation to everyone in this state that has the faintest interest in not looking stupid:

Representative Ellison is further proof that Minnesota Liberals never have to learn the art and craft of civil debate; they, like Ellison, come up through school systems where liberalism is taught as the social baseline, and universities where conservatism is treated as an aberration.

Listen to as much as you can. It’s cringeworthy.

I got to talk with the guy one time, on an online talk show. The guy really is more brittle and facile than I thought he was.

So I’m sorry, Jesse. I mean, I was right and all – you were a train wreck. But that was back when train wrecks were just fun rides, back in the cha-cha nineties, when consequences were dim and far-off – not like today, when the future of the Republic seemed as dire as it has in my lifetime.

What The Hell Is Up With The MNGOP?: Truth And Consequences

There has been much sturm und drang within, and especially outside of, the Minnesota GOP over last spring’s coup de main by the Ron Paul campaign in Minnesota.  Paul activists, organized as tightly as a Marine basic training company, swarmed the precinct caucuses, the BPOU conventions, the CD conventions, and finally the state convention.  They completely took over some districts (including the Metro 4th and 5th CDs) and took the lopsided majority of the state’s delegates to the national convention.

Now, unlike my friend and longtime activist John Gilmore, I’m doing my best to see a silver lining to the takeover, especially in the 4th CD in which we both live.  Gilmore is the lightning rod of the anti-Paul faction in the 4th and the state, of course, and pulls no punches on the subject, and makes it clear he’s not in the business of finding silver linings.

Being a mere foot soldier, all I can do is note that whatever the problems the Paul takeover has brought at the leadership level (and, as I’ve noted, there are most definitely problems), the takeover has had a few benefits, at least at the grassroots level.  There are fewer “warm body on the ballot” candidacies this year in the Fourth CD than any year I can remember.  More of those races hit their number to get the state funding match than in any recent year.

That’s all to the good.

On the other hand?  I’ve documented some of the problems that we’ve had in the 4th CD from the top down rather than the bottom up.

And compared to the 5th CD, we’ve got it good.  Nancy LaRoche – a longtime activist in CD5 – chronicles the disintegration of the leadership in the CD5 GOP under the “watch” of some especially cynical Ron Paul personality cultists.

Nancy’s been trying to find if there’s even a faint sign of life among the elected “leadership”.  Money quote:

None of the executive leadership have responded to the web site bill as of today. Then I wondered, was the 5th District organization as a whole part of their kill plan? There has been no fundraising, no full committee meetings, and no sign of leadership since their election. Mitch Berg wrote about similar issues of idle hands in CD4.

Jason Lewis talked about the misled direction of some Paul supporters who can’t see the forest for the liberty trees. They refuse to elect a better President now to buy the country time for more liberty-minded candidates later. 5th district leaders appear to have no intention of shaping the party, only destroying it. I tend to agree that these Libertarian “tributes” are happily exploiting the Republican party only to advance their sponsor, Ron Paul — then trashing the vehicle they commandeered.

This, of course, was the big concern many in the “establishment” – including this former “establishment” member who in 2010 was one of those pesky Tea Party insurgents – had with the direction of so many of the Ron Paul crowd.  While many – including the vast majority in my own SD65, including its leader, Joe Schultz (who writes an excellent blog, by the way) came to stay and make a difference within the party, there are not a few that quite clearly did not, and have no intention of it.   And plenty of people are not amused.  And in a year when the Fifth CD fields one of its strongest candidates ever – Chris Fields – it would have been spectacular to have had him backed with a functional district.  (Likewise with Tony Hernandez in the Fourth).

On MPR this morning, I heard a bit by Mark Zdechlik comparing the reactions of the “mainstream” Republicans in the party and the Tampa delegation with those of the “Ron Paul”-faction, who were the majority of the delegates.   Zdechlik quoted a Mark Zasadny of Roseville.  I’ll add emphasis:

Minnesota Ron Paul delegate Mark Zasadny of Roseville said if the election were held right now he would vote for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president.

Mr. Zasadny: thanks for hammering home every stereotype the “establishment” had of the Paul movement; that you had not the faintest interest in the GOP, but hijacked it to serve as a vehicle for the Ron Paul Personality Cult.

(Yep, I said “Ron Paul Personality Cult”.  Anyone who doesn’t honestly think that a Romney/Ryan presidency won’t be better for the prospects of liberty in this country, especially and even if only economic liberty, but also the rest of the First Amendment, than a second Obama term seriously needs to get a grip.  Incrementalism is not a dirty word, if it’s incremental in the right direction, especially if that’s a springboard to further bigger increments.  Increments are better than excrements).

“It seems like the clear message was like the grassroots movement is not really welcome in the Republican Party. So that’s kind of hard to swallow when they come around and say, you know, ‘OK, are you ready to unite behind the Romney campaign and the RNC,’” Zasadny said. “And it’s like, ‘well you just tried to cut our throats.’ So how are we supposed to respond to that?”

Well, you can respond in any of a number of ways, Mr. Zasadny.

  • You can come back for the next round of caucuses and conventions, and try to consolidate your control of the MNGOP.
  • You can replicate your Liberty movement organization that suceeded so wildly – at least at conquering the party organization – in other states, and take over more states, to gain more control of the party apparatus so that the next time the rules fight comes up, you’ll fight the battle with more than just a thin rump of delegates from Minnesota and Nevada.
  • You can learn the lessons that every spunky class of political newcomers does; that politics is a marathon, not a sprint.  And all of you Ron Paul supporters that got into the game last February at the caucuses?  You’ve just been sprinting.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Or you can react to the perceived “throat cutting” (which wasn’t; the party has every right to organize itself to present its winning candidate in as monolithically-positive light as possible, free of the yelping of what is, let’s be honest, a small minority of the delegates) by doing what Mr. Zasadny and the “leadership” of CD5 have done; taking the knife out of their throats and jamming it into their eye sockets, and twisting it 720 degrees.

Mr. Zasadny:  You were sent to Tampa to represent the Republican Party.  Part of being a delegate to a Party convention is supporting The Party.  Whether you agree with it or not.  That’s not to say you can’t be a principled dissenter – I’ve done that myself – but not   while speaking as an elected delegate at the party’s convention.

The MNGOP is, and should be, a big tent.  It should have room for fiscalcons and libertarians, and even the odd “moderate” who doesn’t screw the rest of the party on taxes and regulation.  As a Tea Party libertarian conservative, I’m more than sympathetic to the Libertarian cause; I came back to the MNGOP in 1999 mostly to try to push the libertarian-conservative cause in the GOP.  So not only am I a sympathetic ear – I was pushing the Liberty cause long before most of you were involved in the MNGOP.

But when you betray the party while serving as a party delegate?

The question isn’t “should Mr. Zasadny and those who think like him make themselves absent from future GOP events”.  The question is “how badly have people like Mr. Zasadny and the CD5 “leadership” hurt the cause of the genuine Liberty supporters that have come to the GOP to do some good – and in many cases, have delivered on it?

Because there are a few babies among the bathwater.

Dilatory

Joe Doakes from Como Park writes re Keith Ellison’s letter to Hamas:

What, already? It’s only been 5 years. What’s the rush, Congressman?

And why such forceful action? Co-signing a letter to Hamas Leader-For-Now Khaled Mashaal, coming without warning, without any preliminary negotiation or preconditions, joined only by 11 other headline-seekers . . . that seems preemptory and a unilateral. Where is the international support?

But perhaps this letter is a signal of some strongly held belief? An act of fierce moral urgency? What, exactly, do you mean when you say:

“”It just seemed like a humane, decent thing to do,” Ellison said of sending the letter. “I don’t think [Shalit's captivity is] helping the Palestinian people get a state, which I earnestly pray that they get. I think it hardens Israeli hearts and makes it more difficult to move the ball.”

Frankly, Congressman Ellison, it doesn’t sound as if you condemn the tactic of attacking Jews or taking hostages in principal, only that you think the tactic didn’t work out as planned in this particular instance, so you urge a different strategy.

You’ve gotta wonder.

I’ve told this story before; a few years ago, I appeared as a panelist on an internet talk show; Ellison was a guest.

I asked him if he repudiated the bits and pieces of the Hamas charter that called for the extinction of Israel and the extermination of the Jews – and by asked, I mean “with almost obsequious politeness”.

His response?  ”How many Palestinians do you know?”

I donate that insult to my intelligence to all of CD5′s voters with consciences.

Doakes:

I’m certain that’s a comfort to the people living in Israel to know that a junior Congressman from Minnesota signed a letter to the leader of an organization explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel, advising them to shift tactics to complete the Holocaust. Jews everywhere should sleep soundly tonight. The rest of us – especially those living in Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District – should hang our heads in shame.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

Oh, I feel the shame.

But I’m not hanging my head.  I’m raising my (rhetorical) fist.

Ellison is an embarassment.

They Can Have ‘Em

New bill in Texas would provide a destination for illegals:

This should get their attention.

A measure filed by State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would allow any law enforcement agency that has custody of an illegal immigrant to take the illegal to ‘the office of a U.S. Senator or Representative’ and leave them there.

1200 WOAI [San Antonio] news reports the measure also allows county sheriff’s deputies or city police officers to ‘request an agent or employee of the United States Senator or United States Representative to sign a document acknowledging the release or discharge of the illegal immigrant at the senator’s or representative’s office.

The measure covers individuals who are ‘not a citizen or national of the United States’ and who is ‘unlawfully present in the United States.’

Kolkhorst concedes the measure is a ‘cry for help’ to convince federal officials to secure the border, but she says she is serious about getting the measure approved by the Legislature.

That might work in Texas.

Here in Minnesota, Keith Ellison or Betty McCollum would register them as voters.

Belsen Was A Gas

I was born 17 years after the Holocaust ended was shut down by American, Soviet, British and Free French troops.

I’d say “Genocide is a bad thing”.  But then Glenn Maxham of Duluth would get mad at me.

Who is Maxham? I dunno.  He’s a guy who claims to have “worked for three decades as a radio and television news director in the Twin Ports”, but all I really know about him is that he wrote a letter to the editor of the Duluth News Tribune.

For me, the strident pleas of right-wing dissidents to get government off our backs has a hollow ring, and I conjecture it comes from those unlikely to have personally experienced life in a nation under a truly oppressive regime. I have done so several times.

Hm.  That brings a whole new tilt to the study of right and wrong.

After all, I’ve never been gang-raped, had Muscular Dystrophy, been robbed at gunpoint, been swindled out of my life’s savings, had my family killed by machete-wielding ethnic extremists, had a bad overdose on adulterated cocaine, or killed anyone in a car crash, but I know I really don’t want any of them to happen.

Do I have the moral standing to believe that?  What gives one that sort of moral standing?

After spending a month in the old Soviet Union and in later visits to its puppet states of Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland, I witnessed the cruel, unjust use of power firsthand that made me realize the wealth of freedoms we enjoy to the fullest here in the U.S.

Ah.  So being a tourist in places where bad things are happening gives one that standing!  Experiencing a little of something bad qualifies one to criticize it!  Now we’re getting somewhere!

So – if someone kisses me under the mistletoe by surprise, get a bad cold, have to scrape graffiti off my garbage can, see my property taxes go up, get called “a white male”, spend a day recovering from some “off” chicken or knock over my neighbor’s garbage can, then I have standing to inveigh against rape, MD, blue and white collar crime, genocide, drugs or drunk driving?

But not until?

OK. I”m still confused.

At age 20 I was drafted during the Korean conflict. I spent nearly two years overseas, compensated with the GI Bill, which allowed me to finish college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Now well into my retirement years, I live a comfortable life with the help of Social Security and Medicare. I am free to express my political views and free to travel anywhere in our 50 states without checking in with police at the borders to verify my identity and to provide details of my travel plans.

By contrast, I had my camera confiscated in the Soviet Union because I took a picture of still-frozen rivers in July while flying over Siberia. In Stargard, Poland, I was briefly jailed after a person in my party violated an inane law prohibiting pictures of train stations. In all of the Iron Curtain counties I had to leave my passport and room key at the hotel as a guarantee I would not stray outside the city. I was followed wherever I went, and my suitcase examined in each new hotel when I was not in my room. You get the picture.

Well, maybe I do, and maybe I don’t.

So  – until I take a trip through, say, Burma, I shouldn’t complain about military dictatorships?

Here at home, I’m growing increasingly weary of vague charges that we must “take back our country,” that liberals are legislating away freedoms and in general trashing our government, charges that are vacuous at best.

Now, I’m still confused, and I’m facing a bit of a dilemma.  If I make the “charges” less “vague” and “vacuous”, will Mr. Maxham get more “weary”?  Not having had my camera confiscated or my belongings fluffed by the ZOMO, do I have standing or leave to address the isssue?  Or should I go rent a Pole?

By Mr. Maxham’s leave, I’ll take a swing at it.

Rarely, if ever, have I seen an enumeration of denied freedoms by the malcontents. What specifically are those who call for a “restoration of freedoms lost” talking about? Cite examples.

Now we’re getting somewhere!  He’s missed the list of freedoms we’ve lost and want back!

I’ll run down a quick list, in Amendment order – risking, as I do, Mr. Maxham’s wrath for commenting about Constitutional Freedoms without having had the entire Constitution suspended:

First Amendment: The FCC is working to establish “Net Neutrality”, which will eventually lead to censorship via the back door; they’ve also been working on getting the “Fairness Doctrine” back into effect.  If you speak out against a TSA goon, you stand a good chance of being arrested on specious grounds.  Campaign finance laws in effect ration speech (both in the “speech is money” sense of the term as well as finding ways to interpret literal “speech” as campaign contributions. Our freedom of religion and association are both under attack with “civil rights” groups sueing landlords who want to rent to coreligionists; there is legitimate concern that if gay marriage is legalized, US courts will follow the Canadian example and prosecute churches that refuse to recognize the practice.  Freedom of association is under further attack by lawsuits that prevent groups from choosing their memberships in even harmless ways.  In many states, recording the police, even in the Campus speech codes make “free speech” a choosy thing.  The Federal Election Commission is still working on ways to regulate blogs.  And there is a significant movement in government (including Keith Ellison) that wants to subsidize – in effect, nationalize – newspapers.

Second Amendment:  Most major cities still crimp the rights of the law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms, as do a few states.  They adopt gun control laws that don’t inhibit crime, but make citizens criminals for exercising their constitutional rights. States enact arbitrary and unrealistic laws government self-defense, which in effect criminalize perfectly legitimate behavior in self-defense, on largely political and ideological grounds.   Classes of firearms are prohibited due to arbitrary, purely cosmetic and PR issues.  (Or is Mr. Maxham only concerned about the freedoms he values?  I gotta ask…)

Third Amendment:  OK, so far so good.

Fourth Amendment:  Police can seize and sell property on accusation for drug charges – not conviction.  Cities can use extralegal administrative/non-judicial means to seize property – or merely devalue it to the point of untenability – and remove residents on purely political grounds.   Property rights are routinely and constantly infringed by administrative edicts from government bureaus – pollution control, transit, economic development, zoning and other government bureaux.   Oh, and the TSA can grab your junk, and if you say “boo”, they’ll throw you in Guantanamo.

Fifth Amendment:   With allegations of sexual assault and domestic abuse, “guilt until proven innocent” is becoming the rule.   Citizens accused of drunk driving are routinely deprived of Fourth Amendment rights.  County social service agencies have immense extrajudicial power to intervene in family situations – sometimes needed, but other times either in error, or in conjunction with the designs of other agencies.

Ninth and Tenth Amendments:  The courts have let the Commerce Clause serve as a catchall to empower government regulation; the powers of the States and People – on property and land rights issues, election issues, education, healthcare and many other issues – have been sucked into the bureaucratic vortex.

General Economic Liberty: Government actions are subjecting me, my kids, my grandkids and my great grandkids to a mountain of debt.  When one is indebted against one’s own will, one is not free.  Here or in East Germany.

That was about five minutes’ work.  I’d continue, but I bet Mr. Maxham is getting “increasingly weary”.

No doubt many are well-meaning but are woefully misguided and seem to labor under the impression that, to be a genuine patriot, one must hate liberals and be anti-government.

Whoah, there, bigfella!  Where did “hate” come into this?

At the risk of “increasingly wearying” Mr. Maxham, since when does honest, spirited dissent, and trying to keep our government in check, equal “hate?”

By Mr. Maxham’s “logic”, when I tell my kids they can not build a skateboard park in my backyard (with my money!), that’s “hatred”.

I’d hope even Mr. Maxham could see that logic; if I need to translate it into Polish to give it more of that authentic eclat, I’d be happy to help out.

The health of our democracy depends upon having a healthy, effective, two-party system.

Now, I learned Latin in high school, not in ancient Rome – ha ha! – but I know a “non sequitur” when I see one.

There are, and always will be, many shortcomings in our system that need improvement.

Right.  The question is – do we have the right to address them, if we have never been tourists in the USSR?

Mr. Maxham, I’m here to help.  Please – send an enumerated list of people who you’d allow to protest against US government policy.

But when viewed in a comparative sense, our government ranks among the best in the world.

And a lot of us just want to keep it that way.   And once we know who Mr. Maxham would allow to work on that, we’ll get right down to business!

I fail to believe the negative tactics of the Tea Party, and its ultra-conservative sympathizers, can improve upon it.

All kidding aside, Mr. Maxham, why would you think anyone would care what you think about how we, The People, exercise our First Amendment rights to try to make our country a better place and keep our freedoms from eroding further than they have?

What – besides a tour to the Warsaw Pact – would have ever given you the impression that your dismissal of our efforts, and our exercise of our rights, had any merit at all?

Glenn Maxham worked for three decades as a radio and television news director in the Twin Ports.

Oh.

A Look Ahead To The 2011 Session

January 3: Session kicks off.  Mark Dayton throws a “blue jeans” inaugural.  Musical highlight: the “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” Choir singing “Look For The Union Label”.  For four solid hours.

January 4:  The Humphrey Institute releases a poll showing that 80% of Minnesotans want the Legislature to pass Mark Dayton’s budget immediately.  Bloggers point out that the poll included only respondents from Kenwood and Crocus Hill. MPR reports that it’s a nice day for a bowl of Cream of Rice.

January 5: The Star Tribune’s Joe Doyle starts a three part series on “obscene corporate profits” and how they benefit “the rich walking among us”.

January 6: Dayton releases his first budget, calling for $40 billion in spending. Delivering the announcement in blue jeans with the SEIU Singers humming “We Are The World” in the background, Dayton notes that he plans to increase revenues to $41 billion. “We’ll finally have a surplus!” he exclaims, as a crowd described by the Star/Tribune as “50,000 womenandchildren at risk” applauds in the Capitol rotunda.  The plan calls for big tax hikes on “obscene corporate profits” and “the rich walking among us”.

January 10: The last of Dayton’s Iron Range supporters are finally bailed out of the Ramsey County lockup after the inaugural.

January 12:  Speaker Zellers refers the Dayton budget to the House Very Special Boom Zoom Committee” – actually a group of legislators’ children wearing “Junior Representative” t-shirts.  Bill dies, and is colored on, and has juice spilled on it.

January 16:  Lori Sturdevant notes that “a seasoned group of bi-partisan policy wonks say that the GOP risks getting tossed out by an angry mob if they don’t raise taxes.  Conservative bloggers point out that “bi-partisan” in this case means DFL and Green Party members.  Presented with the allegations, WCCO TV reports that Brett Favre just loves Chipotle Big Bols.

January 19: Governor Dayton submits a budget bill involving $42 billion in spending and $ 45 billion in taxes.  “A three billion dollar surplus”, Dayton announces to a group of senior citizens (“at least 20,000″, according to the Strib’s Pat Doyle) at the Hockey Hall Of Fame in Eveleth.  “It’s like a billion hat tricks!”.  Keith Ellison solemnly proclaims that the only reason not to vote for the bill is “racism.  Racism from all you crackers.  Pay the **** up, crackers”.

January 27: Speaker Zellers forwards the bill to the House Budget Committee.  The Mississippi House Budget Committee.  Which loses the bill.

February 3: The Humphrey Institute releases a poll showing that eleventy-teen percent of Minnesotans demand tax and spending hikes.  KARE 11 News finds eleventy-teen people on the street that agree.  Frank Newport of the Gallup Group points out that ‘Eleventy-teen” isn’t even a real number, but something Dennis the Menace used to say to show that he couldn’t count.  Rachel Stassen-Berger responded with a piece on “The Override Six, Two Years Later:  Profiles In Courage And Extremism”.

February 18:  Governor Dayton, speaking at a homeless shelter in Brooklyn Center, holds up James Blount, a three-year-old boy, in front of cameras; notes that “this boy is going to go hungry because of GOP extremism and intransigence tonight”.

February 19:  Conservative bloggers point out that the “boy”, Blount, was actually a schnauzer that had wandered over from a nearby housing development.  Eric Black of the MinnPost responded with a piece on how animal shelters are suffering under GOP rule.

February 27:  Dayton submits his third budget, a $39 Billion plan that is very similar to the budget he proposed during the campaign.  Conservative bloggers point out that it has exactly the same problems it had during the campaign; it assumes “the rich” (in this case, Minnesotans who are still employed) will pay the taxes rather than moving or getting Mark Dayton’s financial advisor, that the state can fire contractors whose jobs are both legally mandated and involve skills the state’s workforce doesn’t actually have, among many others.

February 28: The Star Tribune “Minnesota Poll” claims that Minnesotans want the Dayton budget passed, that the people want to carry Governor Dayton through the streets on their shoulders, and that violence is about to break out against the Minnesota GOP.  Bloggers point out that the survey was conducted entirely at one “Drinking Liberally” event in Minneapolis.  Informed of the allegations, KTCA’s “Almanac” embarks on a three-week special on the history of Danish cooking in Minnesota.

March 20:  Speaker Zellers assigns the budget to the House Government Operations and Finance Committee.

March 28:  Rep. Quam (GOP) of Byron demands that the DFL members of the committee play a game of Twister on the House floor if they want the budget to get out of committee.  The committee members comply.

April 8:  Nick Coleman, writing his new colum in the Wayzata Shopper, remembers when his father was running things.  “The wingnuts wanted to play Twister for a better Minnesota”.

April 12: The Dayton budget comes to a vote in the House.  It loses decisively, on state party lines.  To signify the defeat, Speaker Zellers ties the budget to a string hanging from the ceiling of the House chamber, and members of the House Republican Caucus whack at it like a piñata.

April 15: Speaker Zellers tells a cheering crowd of 10,000 at the Tea Party rally on the capitol grounds that the budget is dead on arrival.  Six pro-tax protesters stand across the street wanly chanting in favor of the Dayton budget.

April 16: The Strib editorial reports that a crowd of “dozens” at the Tea Party rally were evenly split, showing the deep partisan divide in Minnesota politics today.

May 1: , Governor Dayton start making contingency plans for a shutdown.  Bloggers point out that the Governor’s plans include evacuating the Governor’s office to Vail, and euthanizing animals in all state parks.  Told of the allegations, Keri Miller of MPR wonders on the air “whatever happened to bipartisanship?”

May 14: A day ahead of the deadline, the GOP Caucus introduces a $33 Billion budget that makes steep spending cuts and balances the budget with no new taxes.  It passes on a straight party line vote, is sent to the Senate, which also passes the budget by the end of the day.  The bill is sent to the Governor.

May 15  Mark Dayton appears at the Hockey Hall of Fame, dressed in a Minnesota Wild Uniform, with Minnesota hockey legend John Mayasich, to veto the GOP budget. “Minnesota demands that we do the responsible thing and pass my budget without all this debate and democracy and crap”, he says, as Mayasich looks on.   Bloggers point out that “Mayasich” is actually Alliance for a Better Minnesota chair Denise Cardinal in a bald wig.  Told of the allegations, KARE 11 news re-runs the January 4 Humphrey Poll.

May 16:  The Strib runs a piece by reporter Pat Doyle, an expose of the “Casualties of the Shutdown”.  Doyle, clearly gunning for a Pulitzer, writes a heartrending tale of Minnesotans standing in line at soup kitchens, of families (mostly “womenandchildren”) living in huge “Zellerville” on the Capitol Mall living on McDonalds coffee, and people lining up to throw themselves off the High Bridge.  Bloggers point out that government hasn’t actually shut down yet, that nothing Doyle wrote had actually happened, and that the piece was clearly pre-written weeks earlier and run by mistake.  Told of the allegations, MPR’s Keri Miller runs a two-hour broadcast on “How Blogs Provide A Chilling Effect On Free Speech”, featuring a bipartisan panel of Larry Jacobs and Nick Coleman.

May 17: Dayton demands the Legislature pass his budget.

May 18: Nobody at the legislature responds.

July 1: Minnesota’s state government shuts down.

July 2:  The Strib re-runs the Doyle piece.

July 22: The state budget office notes that business activity is increasing, and tax receipts are rising.

July 23: The Strib editorial board runs an extended interview with Elmer Anderson, who gruffly demands that Minnesota Republicans “think about what’s best for Minnesota” and adopt Dayton’s budget immediately without any of that “commie wingnut debating crap”.  Bloggers point out that Elmer Anderson died in 1998, and “Anderson’s” rhetoric read like Nick Coleman writing with a bag over his head.  Told of the allegations, MPR’s Mark Zdechlik embarked on a two-week series on “What we can learn about Democracy from the Iroquois”.  Salient observation: the Iroquois tradition of “Local Tribe Aid” was considered inviolate.

August 18: The State Budget Office notes that, with no government expenditures and business thriving, the state is in a surplus.

September 2: Katherine Kersten’s column, “Happy Days Are Here Again”, notes that Minnesota is in a much better state with the government shut down.  Lori Sturdevant muses in her column that in Wendy Anderson’s day, the governor would have told the State Patrol to arrest Kersten for “making terroristic threats”.  Bloggers point out that that is utterly absurd, there is no record of any such demand, anywhere.  There is no response to these allegations.

September 23: With no budget in place and government shut down for weeks, Mark Dayton, operating from his office in Vail, orders the National Guard called out to react to what Dayton’s press secretary Tinucci calls the “Terrorist Threats”.  Bloggers point out that the “threat” was the conclusion of Sturdevant’s slanderous column about Kersten.  The National Guard’s commandant says “the paperwork is in process, call back in July”.

September 24: Dayton exercises his unallotment power on the GOP’s budget.  Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is left visibly speechless on hearing the news.

September 25: Finished with his line item vetoes, Governor Dayton signs a 27 billion dollar budget.  Alliance For A Better Minnesota’s Denise Cardinal notes that “Mark Dayton has always been the budget-cutting candidate”.  But Andrea Outrage-Guevara, president of Minnesota’s “Alliance of WomynAndChildryn”, speaking at a rally on the capitol grounds that drew “Millions” (according to the Strib), demands that all budget cuts be reinstate immediately or “Dayton will be ousted”.

October 15:  Dayton, relocated his office from Vail, sits on a whoopie cushion left in his office by Tony Sertich.

Take The Fifth And Shove It.

The question “will Minnesota keep its eight representatives” is still very, very much up in the air. The when the population count comes out today, it is – by all accounts – touch and go whether we’ll keep all eight seats and ten electoral votes:

Depending on which of several estimates is right, the state either will lose one U.S. House seat or barely hang on to the eight it has had since 1960, when historic population shifts to the South and West reduced the number from nine.

“It’s really, really close,” said state demographer Tom Gillaspy, who projects that Minnesota could fall about 1,000 residents short of keeping its eight House seats. “It looks like we’re just below the line right now.”

It’s by no means a done deal:

Other estimates show Minnesota keeping all eight seats in Congress, with about 15,000 people to spare. But the experts warn that they are just that: estimates. “When they do the count, things could change,” said Clark Bensen of Polidata, a national data analysis firm that puts Minnesota right on the cusp of losing a seat.

And if we don’t lose it this year, we’ll lose it in 2020, unless they discover gold in Gull Lake or, better yet, oil in Owatonna.

And that matters, because…:

That kind of shrinkage could set state legislators off on a scramble next year to carve seven congressional districts out of eight, a highly partisan process that has wound up in court the last four decades.

Each of America’s 435 congressional districts will have a population of just over 700,000 people.

With that in mind, it is time for Minnesota to confront reality; if we lose a seat, it is high time we consolidated Minneapolis and Saint Paul into a single district, and get rid of either Betty McCollum or Keith Ellison’s seat.  The Twin Cities – with maybe Richfield or the Brooklyns thrown in – have just about the right population to stand alone as a congressional district.  It is high time we calved off the west-suburban parts of the Fifth into the Third; way overdue that we give Shoreview and Woodbury to the Sixth and Second, respectively.

There is no reason for each city, in effect, to hold an entire district hostage with its own whims and needs if we lose a district.   Minneapolis and Saint Paul together account for around an eighth of Minnesota’s citizens; it is completely wrong that they dominate a quarter of our House representation.

Furthermore, getting rid of the Second, Third or Sixth would leave the DFL in control of four out of seven House seats – which is clearly unrepresentative of Minnesota’s current voting patterns, with strong GOP majorities in the Legislature and a DFL governor whose “mandate” was so weak he is effectively dead on arrival – quite likely the weakest governor in recent Minnesota history as of inauguration day.

Discussion Topics:

  1. If we lose a seat, which district should we tube, and why?
  2. Who deserves to be tossed more; Ellison, or McCollum?
  3. Do we need to start soliciting more illegal immigrants for the 2020 census?

Loyalties

Reading the roll call for House Resolution 1737 – the censure of Charlie Rangel – it’s interesting to look at who voted what.

The resolution passed with a solid 333-79 margin.   The 77 “nays” were a very partisan set, of course – 77 Democrats.

Of Minnesota’s entire delegation, only Keith Ellison voted “nay”  - saying that Rangel didn’t deserve any punishment for his corruption.

Thanks, Fifth District.

Hey, Wait!

Hasn’t the Twin Cities media – especially the “alternative”, liberal version – been barbering for years about how Rep. Michele Bachmann just doesn’t do “mainstream” media?

Why, yes – they have

But – did I hear Michele Bachmann doing an extended interview with Cathy Wurzer on MPR’s Morning Edition this morning?

Why, yes I did!

Someone tell Andy Birkey!

No, don’t.  Rather, tell Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, all of whom I’ve invited onto the Northern Alliance Radio Network in the past two years, none of whom have so much as responded.  (In the interest of completeness, note that Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak appeared, as did “Growth and Justice” majordomo Dane Smith.  We had a great time talking with both of ‘em, because – shibboleths about conservative talk radio aside – Ed Morrissey and I will put our cross-aisle interviews up against anything in the commercial or public media today in terms of civility and fairness (while allowing that we are, in fact, conservative).

So whatdya say, Reps Ellison and McCollum?  How about it, Senators Franken and Klobuchar? 

For that matter, we’ve had an invite out to Common Cause Minnesota for six weeks now – submitted on this blog, via email, via a voice mail message, and on Twitter.  Not a word.

How about Denise Cardinal of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”?  Perhaps she could come on the show and discuss the Dayton-family-finance slime campaign she orchestrated?

For that matter, howzabout we get an invite to Mark Dayton?  I’ve heard Tom Emmer do a center-left show; d’ya suppose Dayton’s got the gumption to go across the aisle…

…like Representative Bachmann did?

Ellison: “I’ll Answer Questions To The Press

Keith Ellison crashes the Minnesota Majority’s “Election Integrity Watch” press conference.

(Note:  Lefties are repeatedly getting this video taken off Youtube by reporting it as “abusive”.  Why do they hate the First Amendment?  Why do you hate keeping “representatives” accountable?)

He gets busted in a lie – at 4:03, about his appearance in a video at 3:45.  Someone at either his office, the DFL, the Uptake or one of their affiliated groups doctored an Election Integrity Watch poster to make it look like an anonymous posting intended to intimidate.

And starting at 4:12, you can see what a brittle, cranky little fella the Congressman is.  Someone asks him “who stands to benefit from not having photo ID”.  Ellison answers “Well, my press conference is now over”.

“You’re my congressman! I can’t ask you a question?”, she continues.  Someone else chimes in “You get to decide which questions we can ask?”

Ellison stalks off the mic. “To the press”, he responds.

This is your “representative” in the Fifth District.  Someone who can’t handle a tough question – as I found out  last year when I asked him if he repudiated the parts of the Hamas charter that called for destroying Israel and exterminating the Jews.  His first response was “how many Palestinians do you know” (five, if you go back to college), and it went downhill from there.

Someone who needs to scamper back to the welcoming, friendly arms of the in-the-bag press when things get tough.

What do you call someone who takes his swings at people, and then scampers away when they can hold him accountable?  A bully?

The Fifth District deserves better.

They All Look The Same To The DFL

It’s the second stupid, bigoted attack by the DFL in as many weeks – and it involves my good friend and longtime Northern Alliance colleague King Banaian.

Can you imagine the uproar if a Republican campaign would be stupid enough to drop a campaign piece saying…:

  • “Keith Ellison: Too involved in Saudi Arabian politics to bother with Minneapolis”
  • “Satveer Chaudhary:  Too Hindi To Bother With New Brighton”

Not only would the DFL descend on the idiot candidate like a biblical plague, but 99% of the GOP would feel obliged to join them.

But the DFL has done it again.

Last week, it was the anti-Catholic attack on Dan Hall in Burnsville, which has gotten national attention.

And over the weekend, perhaps a dumber attack still.

Courtesy of Luke Hellier at MDE, this mailer was sent out in re King Banaian, who’s running for House in District 15B – the east half of the Saint Cloud area.

Images courtesy MDE

Images courtesy MDE

King is the former chair of the Economics department at St. Cloud State.  He’s prominent enough an economist to land all sorts of contracting work for governments around the world who are interested in opening up free markets; since I’ve known him, he’s consulted with the Macedonian, Ukranian, Mongolian, Armenian, Kazakh and other governments.

Heaven forbid someone in the Legislature would have earned international respect at economics.

Here’s what the piece says:

King Banaian certainly has a resume – jetting acrosst eh globe to consult the governments of Egypt, Macedonia, Armenia, Ukraine and Indonesia.

But what does all his international travel tell him about the needs of families here in St. Cloud?

Other than the fact that he’s lived there for a couple of decades and become a pillar of the community, you mean?

But worst of all is the photo.  King – that is his real name, and it’s a family thing – is of 100% Armenian descent.  And like most Caucasians from that part of the Caucasus, he’s fairly described as “swarthy”.  Sitting in front of an exotic-looking building, the piece is clearly aimed at some SEIU droog who might be wavering in his DFL loyalty; they’re counting on that droog to look at the picture and go “d-uuu-uuuh, he looks like one of them AY-rabs, g’huck”.

Check out the postcard.  It’s from Saint Paul.  And while I can’t make out the ZIP code from the postmark, I’ll lay 1000-1 odds it’s from the DFL mothership down on Plato.

(On the upside?  At least the DFL bothered to check his biography; had they gone by his name, the piece might have read “Saint Cloud doesn’t need any drunk Irish running things”.  If they went by the photo alone, we might have been favored with some Juan Valdez references. We should perhaps be thankful for small favors).

I asked Banaian for comment earlier.  He’s too busy campaigning to worry about it yet.

The DFL:  they want to win Minnesota one ignorance racist rube at a time

UPDATE: King Banaian says “people here knowmy service as a local economic expert as well as international adviser. Voters care about fiscal accountability, not my passport”.

I suspect he’s right.  But it’s not the people in 15B that I’m worried about.  It’s that wacky bunch down on Plato.

Buyer’s Remorse

The DFL – and their national benefactors – went all-in on Tarryl Clark against their bete noir, Michele Bachmann.

Clark is getting clobbered. Hammered. Beaten like a cheap steak. She’s going to lose by 10 points, and I actually starting to think I’m being conservative.

And the regional left is starting to have second thoughts about their monomania.

A few weeks back Dave Schultz – former head of überliberal “Common Cause Minnesota” and reliably lefty professor at Hamline University – bemoaned the imbalance of the spending:

There is virtually no chance the Democrats will defeat Bachmann. I have argued this for months. Bachmann’s sixth district seat is apportioned approximately six points ahead for Republicans. She is a conservative candidate in a conservative district. She is the Tea Party leader in a Tea Party GOP year. She fits her district well and has already survived several attempts to knock her off in previous years (most recently ’08) more favorable to Democrats. Democrats would be better served to wait until 2012, after reapportionment, when new lines may change the Sixth and make it more competitive, or when Bachmann makes the foolish move to run for the senate againt Klobuchar and gets waxed by her.

Yet Democrats cannot resist themselves. Democrats from around the country are pouring millions into this race and yet there is no evidence that Clark is catching up or gaining ground. Yes, Democrats have to challenge her and force her to campaign at home so that she does not travel and fundraise and campaign for others. But from a cost-benefit perspective, pouring millions here makes no sense. Sure there might be a symbolic victory in knocking her off, but with Democrats having to defend so many seats and having to decide where to best spend, resources need to be placed where it makes the most sense. That is why Minnesota’s Third District makes more sense.

Nick Coleman – still writing for the Strib (who knew?)  notes the dearth of attention paid to Shelly Madore, whom John Kline is going to beat by eleventy billion points  in the Second District next month:

The media either go gaga or go to sleep. In the northern suburbs, it’s gaga all the way: Republican Michele Bachmann and her opponent, Democrat Tarryl Clark, have drawn donations and attention from near and far. Still, just 40 percent of likely voters supported Clark in a recent poll, and the New York Times’ influential “FiveThirtyEight” website gives Clark tiny 1.2 percent odds of beating Bachmann.

It’s hard not to conclude that most of the attention to Minnesota’s Sixth District race is due to the flamboyant incumbent, not her worthy challenger. But at least Bachmann has agreed to debate Clark three times. That will allow voters to consider their choices and balance their view of the candidates, evaluating their message and their performance. However the race turns out, that’s good for the voters.

John Kline isn’t about to let that kind of thing happen in the Second District

But then, either is Keith Ellison in the Fifth.  Or Betty McCollum in the Fourth – yet.  Or, as far as I know, Oberstar in the Eighth, or Peterson in the Seventh.   Because candidates who perceive themselves – rightly or wrongly – to have insurmountable leads realize – rightly or wrongly – they have nothing to gain and plenty to lose by debating dark-horse challengers.  It’s a testimony to Bachmann’s love of the scrap and the fact that she just plan destroys Clark on facts (and the fact that both parties perceive the race as at least hypothetically competitive) that she’s debating at all.

At any rate – by November 3, the DFL will have wasted millions trying to unseat the, effectively, un-unseatable Bachmann.

Would the solid, long-term incumbent John Kline have been vulnerable to the skittery Madore?

Would the fringey, netroots-y Meffert have had a shot against an Erik Paulsen that seems to be growing more conservative as his district seems to follow suit?

We won’t know this year.

Cha ching.

Chanting Points Memo: Bachmann And The Friendly Media

They never learn.

It’s been a little over two years since Andy Birkey of the Minnesota “Independent” first sniffed that Rep. Michele Bachmann “only does sympathetic media”.

Of course, it makes perfect sense for Bachmann; she represents a conservative district; talking with hostile media (and when it comes to the Twin Cities media, “hostile” is not just a rhetorical term) makes as much sense as a frontrunner looking at a comfortable 30-40 point margin agreeing to debate a non-entity opponent.

Still, let’s accept at face value the proposition that candidates talking with media that oppose them is a good thing.

Two years ago, after Birkey wrote his grand attack on Bachmann, I figured I’d see if the pancake was brown on both sides.  I contacted RT Rybak, Chris Coleman, Dave Thune, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and asked them to come on the Northern Alliance with Ed and I – and wrote about the experience.

Summary:  Except for Rybak – with whom Ed and I had an excellent, civil, respectful, serious-yet-fun discussion focusing on actual issues rather than the “ambush the bad guy” crap that Bachmann can usually expect – none of them did us the courtesy of so much as a brusque brush-off.

The Clark campaign must be getting desperate to make something stick, or at least to get donors in the Twin Cities to pony up; the story’s baaaaaack.  According to Paul Schmelzer at the Mindy, Bachmann snubbed CNN:

“She says God called her to run for Congress, so rushing to the media outlets that transmit her views without question is a priority, but for members of the press who might have some harder questions? Different treatment — because Bachmann thinks some in the media are out to get her,” says Tuchman.

“Speed-walking in heels through political mud,” Bachmann is shown rushing between interviews with conservative media including KTLK’s Jason Lewis, Christian radio station KKMS and The Patriot.

So they got completely shunned?

CNN is shooed away by Bachmann’s handlers, but later she agrees to an interview, but only two questions.

Ah.  So Bachmann, who leads Taxin’ Tarryl Clark by nine points and will likely win by at least ten, didn’t shut CNN out; she merely didn’t treat them with the deference to which they’re accustomed.

But in the interest of getting the whole story out there: during the run-up to the Minnesota State Fair and our long string of extra weekday broadcasts, I contacted the DFL about getting Mike Hatch Mark Dayton, Yvette Prettner-Solon, Mark Ritchie, Mike Hatch Lorie Swanson, Rebecca Otto, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum on the show, for the same, exact, respectful-but-pointed interview we gave RT Rybak.

The DFL roundly turned us down at every turn.

So let me get this straight; the GOP is wrong for not facing hostile media, but Democrats are…

…well, still universally just as gutless as the Mindy and CNN want people to think Bachmann is.

You Know Them By Their Enemies

Watching this piece from “UN Watch” – in which a retired British army officer defends the IDF’s relentlessly-scrupulous efforts to avoid civilian casualties during their last counter-terror assaults against Hamas in Gaza…

…I’m reminded of my conversation with Keith Ellison last year on Marty Owings’ “Radio Free Nation”.

ME:  (after reading the part of the Hamas Charter that calls for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Judaism); “So, Representative Ellison; do you repudiate Hamas’ call for the extermination of the Jews?”

REP. ELLISON:  ”How many Palistinians do you know?”

Thanks, Minneapolis.  You done Minnesota proud.

Of Professors And Pretenders

Last winter, there was a leftyblogger conference in downtown Saint Paul.

Someone must have run a session on how to play investigative reporter. ”Minnesota Observer”, writing at “Cucking Stool”, thinks she’s onto something.

Let’s read the story…

D’oh.  Not that link  It’s a dead link.  Because MNob had to pull the story down and retool it just a tad.

But retool she did – and it finally ended up at this link…I think.

Yes!  It’s there!

Spot [leftybloggers have trouble using their real names]  has often jousted with St. Cloud State University professor of the dismal science King Banaian over matters of economic policy here at the Cucking Stool.

Spot “jousts” with King in the same way the Washington Generals “joust” with the Globetrotters.  But I digress.

What I want to talk about today is something a bit different, and a bit more personal to the professor: the Communications Act of 1934. Specifically section 315 of the Act and its equal opportunity requirement on a broadcaster, say a radio station. The Act requires that

If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station

I remember having to learn this bit of law ,when I first started in radio (um, 31 years ago this month); it means that radio and TV stations have an obligation to provide the same access to the air to candidates from all parties.

Of course, not every candidate;  otherwise, stations would be so busy broadcasting screeds from the Grass Roots party and the Natural Law party that they’d sound like AM950, and have the ratings to match.  No, candidates have to be officially-endorsed candidates that are legally on the ballot.  Which means they’ve been endorsed and the convention or, if there’ a primary, the election winner.

The equal opportunity requirements contained in section 315 of the Act have been described as “the closest thing in broadcast content regulation to the ‘golden rule.’”

In the same way that I’ve been described as “Original Gangsta”.

The law – or at least the Cliff Notes version of it – aside, MNob cuts to what passes for the chase:

Professor Banaian is running for the Minnesota legislature, seeking to serve the people of House District 15B…He has a website up, he’s on Facebook and the Twitter. He’s pretty obviously a “legally qualified candidate” these days under the Act.

And, as MNob noted (it was apparently why she took down the original post) the DFL doesn’t have a legal candidate yet; they’re duking it out in the primary tomorrow.  King will take the winner on in November (and, I suspect, win by 5-10 points).

But he also has a media presence that his opponents do not, one that brings us back to section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934. You see, he also has four hours of air time every single week in the form of the “King Banaian Show” on 1570 AM, some “Business Talk Radio” station here in the Twin Cities…

Remember that phrase – “here in the Twin Cities”.

Candidate Banaian has had hours of air time at his disposal. I don’t see that anyone else in the race appearing on the KYCR schedule.

Well, no.  Economist Banaian has had the hours “at his disposal” to do a show about economics.  And it is “in the Twin Cities”; not in Saint Cloud, part of which is in 15B.

But MNob is – to a point – correct; he’s a candidate.

On his candidacy website, Facebook, and Twitter he makes no mention of his radio show, and the radio show’s website doesn’t mention his candidacy, which makes me think he knows that all is not entirely according to Hoyle in this scenario.

Not sure how MNob’s crack research skills missed the fact we’ve been plugging King’s show every week for ten months now; King’s been on the air on one Salem Twin Cities station or another for six and a half years, now.  I’m not a lawyer, so I’m obviously not mentally equipped to ponder the workings of the law-school-trained mind, but if “according to Hoyle” means “publicized”, King’s pretty much got it covered.

I’m not completely detached from the discussion; I was there for part of it.  When Salem Communications switched King’s program from AM1280 to AM1570, to give it one of the most solid, credible local voices in the market for discussing business and economic  issues, everyone knew that there was a possibility that King would run for office.  The question went up the corporate food chain and came back down positive.  King could do his show, but he couldn’t talk about being a candidate; his focus was the same as the station’s; business, not politics.

Still, MNob’s right, so far – since King is a candidate…

…under the law, his care in avoiding discussions of his candidacy doesn’t won’t matter. Most likely, once he received a party unit’s endorsement and certainly once he filed his paperwork, his presence on the air triggered the equal opportunity provisions of the law.

Well, sure, once the Democrats endorse an opponent.

Or it would; if KYCR were heard under any normal, reasonable circumstances, in House District 15B.

Here’s HD15B (warning: PDF file!): it’s eastern Saint Cloud and its southeast environs in Stearns county.

Here’s KYCR’s listening area:

The red circle is the “Local Coverage” pattern – the area where the station can be reliably picked up. it ends a good half a county short of the nearest tip of District 15B.  The lavender line is the “Distant Coverage” pattern – where the signal catches a bare corner of 15B, but only if you’re pretty darn motivated and have a good radio or a big antenna.  The blue line is the “fringe coverage area”, where you have to be more or less lucky to be able to find the station even if you want to try really hard (and I’m here to testify – it’s real hard to get a station in the fringe area, and harder still to get a meaningful signal).

As you can see, over 90% of the district is in the “Fringe” overage area (Coverage maps explained).  Experience says even the red circle is optimistic.  Oh, and at night – when half the “equal time” would occur – the range is about 2/3 of what you see on the map above.

I’m not bringing this up for the wonky radio-geek-olicious fun of it; the “Equal Opportunity” rules have limits.  One of those limits, as far as the FCC is concerned, is “does a voter in an area have a reasonable chance of being able to pick up the candidate’s broadcast?”   If a candidate in Fargo has a show on a station in Louisville, Kentucky, the Kentucky station would not likely be forced to give up equal time; nobody in Fargo will ever hear the candidate’s broadcast, so it can’t influence the election even indirectly.

And, according to a source familiar with this situation, that’s why Banaian’s show continues – because it is impossible for anyone in HD15B to hear it under normal circumstances, except via the internet – and the FCC doesn’t require Equal Opportunity on the Internet, because candidates can produce their own webcasts as easily as Salem can.  Probably easier.

So while the Equal Opportunity rule might apply to the race in 15B, it’s a real stretch.

Of course, “stretch” doesn’t mean “impossible”.  So if I were KYCR’s program director (and I am not!), I’d say something like this:

MANAGER MITCH: Sure, Zach Dorholt or Carol Lewis, whichever of you wins the primary!  You want equal time?  You got equal time!  You roust yourself up at 7AM on Saturday, and get on the road by 8:30.  Get yourself from Saint Cloud to Eagan by 10 or 10:30, because you’re going on the air at 11!  You have two hours (the same length as King’s broadcast; we’ll rebroadcast it on Sunday night, just as we do King’s.  Oh, unless you’d rather come down here on Sunday night!).

The law requires us to give you two hours of airtime and a microphone.  I’ll throw in an engineer to run the board for you, naturally.  But making yourself sound good and credible when you’ve probably never done any radio – that’s your job!  So you can sit in that room for two hours – it’s actually 88 minutes after commercials – and try not to sound like a cottonmouthed stammering fool.  Unless, of course, you’d like to have one of the hosts in the building lead you through a discussion of the district’s issues…oh, wait.  All conservatives.  Sorry about that.

And you can do that 88 minutes on the air knowing that not a single person in your district will ever hear what you’re saying, unless they really love tinkering with radios, which, let’s be honest, on a summer Saturday in Minnesota, nobody does.

(D’oh, sorry – you might be dimly audible in the southeasternmost tip of the district – the Republican part.  Time well spent, folks!)

You’ll be off the air at 1PM, which leaves you back in St. Cloud by about 2:30, if there’s no construction.

So you go ahead and tell your campaign manager “Hey, I’d like to take six hours of prime Saturday campaigning time to drive to Eagan to do a broadcast that absolutely nobody in our district will hear, except maybe a few people who are rock-ribbed Bachmann supporters anyway; nobody from Saint Cloud, the only place we’ll be getting any votes, will be able to hear it even in the unlikely event they’d try”.

And then, you tell that manager you’re going to be doing it every single week until the election is over, or until Banaian decides to take a break from it.

C’mon down!  Mi airtime es su airtime!

Perhaps Mr. Dorholt and Ms. Lewis’ campaign managers might want to be in touch with MNob to ask her to quit doing them favors.

Look – it’s entirely possible that King will put his show on hiatus has the campaign switches to its final push for November, and hand it over to guests hosts or do a few months worth of “best ofs”.   Campaigning is hard, and I’d imagine King could use a few extra hours a week when the end-of-cycle grind really kicks in.  And if he gets elected – and I think he will, and I think the smart money would think so even if King hadn’t been one of Smart Money’s friends for over six years – we’ll have to see what happens, then.

But it’ll have nothing to do with the FCC – for the radical reason that everyone involved in the show at Salem and KYCR thought about all these possibilities well in advance.  Equal Opportunity might apply to the DFL candidates in 15B; they might just be really dumb to try to use it.

But if all you leftybloggers want to get equal time, pass the word to Dave Walz, Keith Ellison and BettyMcCollum that my repeated invites to appear on the Northern Alliance still stand.  Of course, nobody at any of those offices has the manners to respond, much less the seeds to take us up on it (even though RT Rybak found Ed and I perfectly respectful and civil interviewers; McCollum and Ellison apparently need interviewers who’ll paint their toenails on the air for them)…

…possibly because there’s no FCC law that requires them to accept the offer.

Pity.

Monster

Joel Demos may need more than a great web ad to beat Keith Ellison in the Fifth District. He’ll probably need the National Guard. The Fifth, aka “Berkeley on the Prairie”, is one of those districts where the DFL could endorse a package of pork chops and get 50% of the vote.

Still – if great ads won elections, Demos could start measuring the drapes in Ellison’s office.

There is no more thankless job in the world than running for CD5 (or CD4, across the river, which is just as bad).

But if Republicans in the city couldn’t hope for miracles, we couldn’t hope for much at all.

Remember The Phrase That Pays, Put Your Brain On Vacation

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:

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(Title via Rick, Robin, Tom and Bun)

Who Do Minnesota Liberals Hate: The Pack

GREETINGS MERCURY RISING “Reader”/”s”:  ”Phoenix Woman”  (has anyone ever noticed that her and Ken “Avidor” Weiner have never been seen in the same place?) apparently thinks that any reference to Bradlee Dean is not only a) a wholehearted endorsement of every minute facet of his worldview, and b) since I am a Republican, proof that Bradlee Dean really really double-dog is is is is is an honest-to-Pete “GOP insider”.

And “her” “point” is that Dean and the “You Can Run…” crew aren’t really “obliquely involved in politics”.  Which I wrote because, in 2010, they were pretty, well, obliquely involved in politics.  Sure, they did a political talk show; but unless “Phoenix” can show us some evidence that Brad and Jake actually particpate and are involved in some sort of party activity on a regular basis, “she” is really talking out her ass – or as we conservative bloggers put it, “Phoenixing”.

Further proof that

a) if logic were gasoline, “Phoenix Woman” couldn’t drive around the inside of a cheerio, and

b) if you read Mercury Rising, you’ve either had  a stroke, or are trying to give yourself one.

On to the actual article

——–

With the backmarkers out of the way, it’s time to recognize the middle of the pack – the Minnesota conservatives that are the eleventh through twentieth most-hated by Minnesota liberals.

Just as explanation, I weighted all votes by their position on the voters’ lists.  Thus a first-place vote got ten points, second-place nine points, and so on down to tenth place, for a point.   I also calculated a “passion index”, which is just a fancy way of saying the average points the subject got per vote; the higher the “passion index”, the more high-point votes the subject got.  Rankings are in descending order of point totals.

So without further ado, here we go!

20. King Banaian: My long-time NARN cohost, conservative economist and candidate for the Minnesota House in district 15B, Banaian squeaked onto the Top 20 with three votes and the second-lowest passion index in the group, barely ahead of Erik Paulsen.  I suspect he’ll do much better in the election this fall.

19. AM1280 The Patriot: The station that broadcasts such controversial fare as Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved – also the NARN – is hated by many for being a dissenter at all.

18. Taxpayers League of Minnesota: The group behind the “No New Taxes” pledge, the TPLoMN has been blamed for everything from the 35W bridge collapse to full wastebaskets in state offices. Tied for the highest passion index in the 11-20 group.

17. Bradlee Dean: Host of “Sons of Liberty”, minister at the controversial “You Can Run ButYou Can Not Hide” street ministry, and Andy Birkey’s constant stalkee, the regional leftymedia has turned Dean into a strawman representing all that is evil about Minnesota conservatism, notwithstanding the fact that he’s only tangentially involved in politics.

16. Scott Johnson: The Powerline blogger pummels lefty figures from Dan Rather all the way down to Nick Coleman without breaking a sweat.  Liberals hate that.

15. Rep. John Kline: He wins the Second District with the same kinds of margins Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison get in the Fourth and Fifth.  Unlike the dim McCollum and the always-frothing Ellison, Kline is a competent congressman.

14. Rep. Laura Brod: One voter commented “the left hates conservative women more than anything”, and Laura Brod has become one of the strongest figures in Minnesota conservatism – a “prairie Sarah Palin”, said one voter.  And that adds up to votes!  Youtube videos of her running verbal rings around DFLers in the house are a favorite among Minnesota conservatives.  Lefties hate fun.

13. John Hinderaker: My NARN cohost and Powerline contributor is widely, but mildly, detested; he got the most votes of anyone in the 11-20 group, but also drew the lowest passion index – lower than his blog partners Johnson and Mirengoff, lower even than Banaian or his NARN 1 co-host Brian Ward.  This is, however, a great base from which to improve for next year.

12. Phil Krinkie: Former “Doctor No” of the legislature and then head of the Taxpayers’ League, Krinkie has stood in the way of DFL spending, which is like getting in a Christian’s path to heaven, or a Packer fan’s access to beer - it’ll get people exercised.

11. Carol Molnau: Pawlenty’s lieutenant governor and former Transportation Commisioner, Molnau has been conservative and female – two words that act on liberals like holy water on vampires.

Tomorrow at noon – the Top Ten Minnesota Conservatives that Minnesota liberals hate!

The Powers That Be

Eric Pusey at Minnesota “Progressive” Project complains about John Kline:

Kline is notorious for rarely if ever appearing in public.  Kline only appears at events where the contact is either with pre-screened, conservative-only audiences or the questions are screened in advance.  Kline doesn’t debate.

Either do Keith Ellison – a prickly little man who can’t tolerate dissent – or Betty McCollum, who would be overmatched  debating Anna Nicole Smith.

Pusey is writing on behalf of “Powers“, the DFL’s endorsed victim in the 2nd CD.  Powers, a construction worker who beat Shelly Madore in the “unified” DFL in the 2nd CD, is on his way to getting maybe 30% this November.

“Plus, we’re getting lots of hits on our website after every parade or event,” he continued.  ”People are checking me out further after they first meet me.”

To be honest, I’d like to see debates in every district for every race – but I can see why Kline doesn’t take the chance in a district where he has a crushing advantage, in a city where the media will wrench everything he says out of context.

Not sure that Ellison and McCollum have the same excuse…

Chanting Points Memo: The Case Of The Landscaper Who “Got Dirt”

During the 2006 election, the Star/Tribune ran a story about Alan Fine, the GOP candidate for the Minnesota house against then-candidate, now-representative Keith Ellison.

The piece, with a byline from reporters Rochelle Olson and Paul McEnroe, but which reportedly included a lot of reporting from Erik Black, dropped right before the election, and covered a 12-year-old domestic violence case in which Fine was arrested after a reported altercation with his then-wife.

I looked at the story and thought, for a variety of reasons, that it stank to high heaven.  Scott Johnson at Powerline , being a lawyer, was able to put fact, or lack of it, to the   Strib’s “coverage”; the Strib piece omitted the facts that there was no physical evidence of abuse, no charges were ever filed, the arrest was expunged from Fine’s record, that Fine had eventually won custody of their minor child (a rarity in contested divorces in Minnesota), and Fine’s ex-wife later went on to get arrested for…domestic abuse.

I asked the Strib why all these facts got left out of Olson and McEnroe’s story.

“It was an editorial decision; there wasn’t enough room”, went the response.   But that was dodgy; in an exercise in which I left out some of the puffery and marginalia from Olson and McEnroe’s original story, I got in all the facts with plenty of room to spare (in terms of word count and column-inches).

So you may ask; why did the Strib run an incomplete story that related an inaccurate story that served only to slander a Republican candidate against the candidate that the DFL and Star/Tribune both endorsed?

Do I need to start over, or what?

———-

The problem is, if last week is any indication, the regional media is getting worse – even more selective in its relation of fact, bespeaking an even more bald-faced desire to get Democrats elected.

Last week, the Strib’s Pat Doyle ran a piece purporting to report on some of Tom Emmer’s legal wranging.  I covered it at the time,  calling it a “dog bites man” story of a lawyer…practicing law, and dealing with some of the collateral stresses that come with practicing small-town law; an embezzling office manager, a complaint from a former client, some other issues.  Even on a “Dog Bites Man” level, the story was thin, runny gruel.

The single story of the four that seemed to perhaps hold water was the tale of the landscaper that, to read Doyle’s account, lost a lawsuit against Emmer and his wife Jacquie.

Now, if you take Doyle’s account at face value, Emmer looks like a parsimonious weasel who wriggled out of a bill on a technicality:

In small claims court, District Judge Kathleen Mottl awarded Poppler his entire claim. She added that Emmer’s “request for reimbursement of ‘attorney’s fees’ is wholly inappropriate, as he represented himself.”

Emmer took his appeal to District Court, where his lawyer argued that he wasn’t responsible for the landscaping bill because his wife had initiated and modified the job.

Earlier, Mottl had disagreed with that notion. “She essentially did so as her husband’s agent,” she wrote.

But District Judge Dale Mossey ruled that Emmer was not responsible for his wife’s actions. Poppler said Jacquie Emmer has not paid the $1,237.

He said he’s considering suing her, but he is concerned about attorney’s fees.

Sounds pretty damaging.

And sources out on the campaign trail tell me that the tale has raised some eyebrows.

But Doyle’s story is missing some key facts.

———-

A Minnesota Tenth District Court document, “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order” for Case Number CV-07-7141, filed on December 28, 2007, includes the following “Findings of Fact” (transcribed from the order), relates the conclusions of the judge, after a December 13 hearing in Buffalo between Tony Poppler and defeandant Tom Emmer.:

  1. In May of 2006, Jacquie Emmer contacted Plaintiff, seeking the performance of landscaping work.  Plaintiff and Ms. Emmer discussed the scope of the work and the price to perform that work.  Plaintiff and Ms. Emmer entered into an oral contract to perform the work.
  2. On June 22 and 23, 2007, Plaintiff performed the work requested.  During the work, Mrs. Emmer requested additional work to be performed and Plaintiff agreed to perform it.  Part of this additional work included removal of certain dirt.  Mrs. Emmer and Plaintiff did not discuss the specific cost of the additional work.
  3. Defended is married to Mrs. Emmer.  During the course of the project, Defendant looked over some of the work that had been performed and said that it looked good.
  4. Defendant never asked Plaintiff to perform any work whatsoever.  defendant never agreed to pay for removal of dirt.  There is no evidence that Defendant directed Mrs. Emmer to seek landscaping services or to remove dirt.
  5. Plaintiff has been compensated for all materials and labor except for, possibly, the removal of dirt.  Plaintiff does not seek recovery from Defendant or Mrs. Emmer under any theory of contract.  Plaintiff does not seek recovery from Mrs. Emmer under any theory.  Plaintiff seeks recovery from Defendant on a quasi contract theory of unjust enrichment.

Re-read number five.   It says that, as a matter of fact, Poppler didn’t try to sue Mrs. Emmer, the person with whom he had the “contract”.  He’s trying to get the money out of Tom Emmer for “unjust enrichment“.

The “Conclusions of Law” are pretty succinct:

  1. Plaintiff’s performance of landscaping work at the direction of Mrs. Emmer does not unjustly enrich Defendant. Schumacher v. Schumacher, 627 N.W. 2d 725, 729 (Minn App. 2001).

In other words, the basis of Poppler’s suit – that Tom Emmer was “unjustly enriched” by the flap between he and Jacquie Emmer – had no basis in law.

And the “Order for Judgment” is one simple line:

  1. Defendant is entitled to dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, with prejudice, and to tax his costs.

I’m no lawyer, but it looks as if Mr. Poppler and Jacquie Emmer had a misunderstanding about billing - even though as the court directly noted, he was paid for everything but the dirt removal.  Poppler went after Tom Emmer and, after an appeal, lost, and was compelled to pay Tom Emmer’s court costs.

A source with knowledge of the situation emailed: “Basically, [Poppler] didn’t sue Jacquie because he couldn’t – he did not have a contract and he would have lost. So he tried to sue Tom for “unjust enrichment.” In the findings of fact, the judge wrote that he didn’t have a case against Jacquie. He ruled that the guy sued the wrong person. And he gave Tom court costs. A clear victory for the Emmers“.

But to hear Pat Doyle tell the story, you’d think it was one of a pettifogging attorney welching out on a contractor, and getting away with it on a petty technicality.

Pat Doyle would seem to have printed all the news that fit…the Strib’s narrative.  It’s of a piece with the 2006 smear of Alan Fine, the 2000 smear by association of Rod Grams (reporting on his son Morgan’s addication problems while omitting the fact that Grams had had very little contact with his son; his ex-wife had custory), and other among the Strib’s greatest hits, and might prompt a thinking person to say “there’s a pattern here”.

I will be asking Pat Doyle for comment.  Don’t hold your breath; most Strib and PiPress reporters seem to think they’re above answering questions from peasants.

I Am The Champion, My Friends. And I’ll Keep On Being Right…To The End!

Back during the 2008 race, a local leftyblogger called the NARN in a state of high-dudgeon over my statemenat Erik Paulsen was running a conservative campaign for the Third Congressional District.

The caller bellowed “You’re a Liar!!!”, which is leftyblogger-speak for “I disagree with you, but I can’t coherently articulate why”.

My point at the time:  the “Conventional Wisdom” (a fancy term for “the current of thought among the DFL and their friends in academia and the media”) was saying that the Third was “purple”, and that any Republican hoping to win would have to “run to the center” and be a “moderate Republican” (which is again DFL/media/academic code for “willing stooge of the DFL”) a la the departing moderate Jim Ramstad to have any hope of riding out the rising Obama tide – and yet Paulsen was solidly center-right on all the issues that mattered.

So it’s kinda fun to look at the American Conservative Union ratings of our current House delegation.   Betty McCollum, Al Franken, Keith Ellison all get “0″ on a 1-100 scale; Oberstar and Walz tie at a nearly-Trotskyite “4″.

On the other hand, Michele Bachmann has a lifetime “100″;  “Extremist” John Kline also dialed up a 100 this past year, better than his lifetime rating of a thoroughly respectible 88…

…which happens to be exactly the same as Paulsen’s rating this past year.

Which is twenty points better than Jim Ramstad’s rating of 67.

Further proof that the only real information comes from the right.