Hamline Debate Highlights

I watched and live-tweeted yesterday’s gubernatorial debate from Hamline University, which was telecast on Fox9.

For starters, it wasn’t the worst debate format I’ve ever seen.  Fox 9′s crew of hairdos (I have long since stopped paying attention to Twin Cities anchor teams) largely stayed out of the way of the three reporters – Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury – who did most of the questioning.  And most of the questions – the ones that didn’t get into personal lifestyle issues (do we really care if either candidate ever smoked pot?), anyway – were pretty good. 

Oh, yeah – Johnson shredded Dayton.   I know, I’m partisan – but I’m pretty clinical about public speaking.  Johnson is cool, calm, collected, an on top of his facts.  Dayton – as Johnson quipped, at one point – pretty much ran through his ex-wife’s chanting points. 

The three highlights, in my book?

Number 3: The Aisle:  When asked if they were capable of working across the aisle, Dayton’s response amounted to “I could – if it weren’t for that stupid opposition!”.  It’s the GOP’s fault he can’t work across party lines!

Number 2: Pot Calling The Kettle A Pot:  At one point, in one of his few spontaneous moments of the debate, Dayton scolded Johnson about a perceived (and false) inconsistency in his record, ending it by telling Johnson to “pick a side and stick with it”.  I laughed so hard, I nearly soiled myself. 

That’s Governor Dayton; the guy who’se argued both sides of medical marijuana, the minimum wage hike and tip credits, the Vikings stadium subdidy, Gift, B2B, gas and Warehouse taxes, cigarette taxes, fixing MNSure, sex-offender releases, expanded notification of mental health issues to the NICS database (the list of people who can’t legally buy guns), and even on the availability of his daily calendar.  

Number 1: That Definition Of Insanity:  Questioned by the panel and Johnson about the MNSure debacle, Dayton let slip that he thought the real solution was single-payer healthcare.

That’s right – when the government makes a collossal botch of centralizing most of healthcare, let’s let them centralize it all!

The one thing the DFL was able to salvage from the debate was an “oops” from Johnson; asked to define “middle class” in terms of a dollar threshold, after Dayton waffled and proved he didn’t have a clue, Johnson said “I haven’t a clue”. 

Of course, there is no hard-and-fast dollar figure as to where the “middle class” begins and ends; it’s more a matter of circumstances; the middle class are those who don’t live off of investments and spare Renoirs,oroff of charity and subsidies.

Parkas In The Third Circle

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Star Tribune runs an astonishingly even-handed report on politicians’ finger-pointing over Ebola funding.
The conclusion: they’re equally to blame. Which isn’t true, but is a far cry from Star Tribune’s reflex to blame Republicans.
The article points out CDC funding in 2010 was $6.8 billion, 2011 was $6.9 billion and then President Obama proposed to reduce it to $6.6. Yes, the President slashed $300,000 out of CDC funding. And Congress went along. So they’re all to blame.
What the article does not address is HOW the CDC pisses away that $6.6 billion. And that’s totally under the control of Democrats.

Joe Doakes

You Have No Thought Of Answers, Only Questions To Be Filled

It was thirty years ago today that Steeltown by Big Country was released. 

Of course, people who were of music-listening age in 1984 might, might, remember Big Country for its single real American hit, “In A Big Country”, from their debut album The Crossing.   The follow-up passed with nary a whisper, but for maybe a few days’ worth of airplay for the one US single. 

On the other side of the pond, it was another story, of course; Big Country was a major headliner in Europe, especially Scotland, for the rest of the decade; they were one of the Rolling Stones go to opening acts for most of the decade, which ain’t haggis.

But except for a brief flash of FM airplay, Steeltown came and went, and marked Big Country’s demise in the US market (except for a brief return to college and album radio in the early nineties with The Buffalo Skinners, which, again, was mostly for the big fans).

It’s a shame – because if anything, Steeltownwas a better record than the hit The Crossing; harder-edged, it started somewhere and went somewhere. 

Of course, being a Scottish pop-culture production from the middle Thatcher era, it started on the political left and stayed there.  It should be unsurprising that Steeltown was a stridently anti-Thatcher/Reagan/conservatism record.  The opening cut, “Flame of the West”, was a pretty by-the-numbers swat at Reagan; the title cut, a burly poison pen note about the decline of the (newly-privatized) British steel industry; the medley “Where the Rose is Sown/Come Back to Me”, a post-Falklands war broadside at militarism and jingoism and, in the second half, the lot of the discarded disabled veteran (both presented and reduced, of course, through First World War-vintage imagery) . 

I’ve wondered over the years; maybe I latched onto the album as hard as I did because I was clinging to the idealistic, overheated post-adolescent liberalism I’d always believed in. 

Or maybe because the music was just so damn good.

In retrospect, it was mostly the music. 

Here’s the title cut – a live version from the height of the band’s era. 

The video’s got the inevitable hagiographic imagery of classical British labor – lots of jump cuts to footage of Brit steel mills from the golden age of British industry. 

But the part to focus on?  The music – Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson’s interleaving guitars over bassist Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki’s pounding martial beat – interacting with the crowd of pogoing Scots with mad and drunken abandon, all piles up into a musical attack that makes Metallica sound and feel like Hannah Montana.

Of course, I love “Tall Ships Go”…

…as a showcase what the band had done with their flavor of celtic-flavored guitar technique since The Crossing. 

But the album’s real highlights are “Where The Rose Is Sown” /”Come Back To Me”…

…which are both wonderful examples of songwriting and production, even in the live performances above; nuanced-yet-bombastic, powerfully evocative backgrounds with heart-stopping highlights.

But all those are just words. I’ll explain it like this; the first time I heard the little guitar figure at the end of each choruses in “Rose”, I just stood there, jaw dropping, heart palpitating, one of those musical moments that stays with you a lifetime, if you’re lucky.

The other? “Just a Shadow” :

…which for my money is one of the best ballad of the decade – not only for the guitar work (people thought Adamson and Watson were playing synths, like most every other Brit band of the era) and, as always, Adamson and Butler’s vocal interplay (they were perhaps the best vocal duo of the decade)…

…but for the song itself. 

The highs may not be quite as high as that first blast of discovery on The Crossing , with its “In A Big Country” and “Harvest Home” and Close Action”, but the effect is more consistent, less shrill, more complete. 

In a just world, it would have been a hit.

Lord, I’ve Seen Fire, And I’ve Seen NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air! I will be on from 1-3PM today!

I’ll be talking with:

  • Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicollet.
  • Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson about his press conference this past week, and the military voting system

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Three Shockers

Three new polls indicate that the “good year for the GOP’ might not stop at the Saint Croix:

The first two are, of course, internal polls.  It’s possible they’re self-serving – although generally the parties are paying good money for the internal polls, and want them to be accurate.  They are, of course, intended to start a “bandwagon effect”, convincing voters who are inclined to be friendly that their support can be rewarded, and likely opponents to stay home and avoid the futility. 

Sort of like the DFL, ABM and mainstream media (ptr) have been doing to make DFL wins feel inevitable. 

Three weeks ’til the election?  This is huge. 

Also – with the Democrats pulling their money out of Kentucky and Colorado, look for Al Franken to get a wad of cash, as Democrats around the country start to realize Senator Smalley is a lot more vulnerable than the local media let on.

Trulbert! Part XVII – Between Heaven And Richfield

 - 12:00AM, November 1, 2015 – Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell

All was bliss.

“Freeks and Geeks” was on.  Hell, it was still on the air – new, original first-run productions.  Better than the original.  So was “Arrested Development”, come to think of it.  And “The Sopranos”, and ”The Wire”.  Simultaneously.

And on the radio, the Vikings had just won their third straight Super Bowl.

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This Is How Stupid They Think You Are

SCENE:  The Admiralty, London, May, 1940.  Winston CHURCHILL is poring over a map in the Admiralty’s operation’s center, looking over the deteriorating situation in France.  He is joined by Admiral Nigel FRIEDEN, head of the Royal Navy’s public health wing.

CHURCHILL:  It is clear that we are going to have to evacuate the British Army from France.  In addition to a maximum effort by the Royal Navy, we’ll need thousands of civilian boats to help get the troops off the beaches and evacuate them from the Nazis. 

FRIEDEN:  I’m afraid that’s a bad idea, sir.

CHURCHILL:  Why do you say that?

FRIEDEN:  If we evacuate the Army, it will just make the occupation worse in England.  Also, we’ll have to use the fleet to evacuate Germans from England, too, then.

CHURCHILL:  That makes no sense.

FRIEDEN:  I’m an expert. 

NEXT SCENE: The US Air Force base at Wiesbaden, West Germany, June, 1948.  General Lucius CLAY, commander of US Military Government in occupied West Germany, is looking at a map of the Eastern Zone.  Ominously, red Soviet stars sit astride the three road/rail routes supplying West Berlin; the Soviets have just instituted a blockade, trying to starve West Berlin into the Soviet sphere.  Clay looks pensive.  He is joined at the map table by Brigadier (one-star) General Maximilian FRIEDEN, head of his public health corps. 

CLAY:  Blockade, schmockade.  We will need to start the greatest airlift in history to keep Berlin supplied.  It will show Stalin that we’re serious about

FRIEDEN:  We can’t, General.

CLAY:  What the hell?

FRIEDEN:  If we bring food, medicine and coal to Berlin, it’ll just make the hunger, disease and cold worse.  Also, for every load of supplies we bring in, we’ll have to bring a plane-load of Soviet spies and commandos back. 

CLAY:  Whose army do you serve?

SCENE:  April 1975.  As the North Vietnamese Army overruns Saigon’s last line of defenses, US Marine Brigadier General Richard CAREY is discussing the upcoming evacuation of Americans and certain Vietnamese from Saigon.  Artillery is heard in the distance, as CAREY makes the final plans to remove the last Americans, and as many Vietnamese as possible, from the Embassy compound .  He is addressing a group of officers, including State Department public health attache T. Morton FRIEDEN.

CAREY:  And so we’ll bring in the helicopters from the aircraft carriers.  We’ll get the last of the Marines out by 1800 hours. 

FRIEDEN:  General, that’s a bad idea.  Evacuating Marines will only make them more subject to Communist rule.  And for every helicopter full of Marines you remove, you’ll need to bring one full of Vietnamese back from the ships. 

CAREY:  (Stands, slack-jawed).

———-

CDC director Thomas Frieden is telling us that wejust can’tstop all flights coming in from West Africa, because…:

It’ll Make the Epidemic Worse:  Because ancient tribal burial rituals, lack of information about handling infections, and superstitions about healthcare workers aren’t bad enough; dispersing the epidemic all around the world must be ten times better!

If we stop air travel, we won’t be able to bring supplies:  That’s only true if all flights from West Africa are on disposable aircraft, or are kamikaze flights.  Planes can fly in the other direction.  Hopefully to drop off supplies and trained well-equipped healthcare workers.  And return empty, until the crisis eases.

I imagine Mr. Frieden knows this.  But judging by the last round of elections, it’s a lot for a plurality of Amerians to understand…

UPDATE: You think I’m selling Dr. Friedman short? 

Read this – especially Dr. Frieden’s interview with Megyn Kelly

It only looks like one of my parodies.

Is Anything The DFL Does Actually Real?

And I ask that question in a context that goes above and beyond the typical “The Alliance For A Better Minnesota Is Lying” sense of the term.

As we noted a few weeks back, the DFL is making TV ads with fake middle class families.  It’s nothing new for them, of course.

And now, as both Bill Glahn and the lesser talk station’s Jack and Ben have pointed out, the DFL is going hog wild with the Photoshops, as with this hamfisted whack at Stacey Stout:

Glahn:

The face of the man in the bottom photograph (captioned “Stout works for extreme Republicans) belongs to the state House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt.

The body belongs to Conor McFadden, the son of U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden, as illustrated in the Star Tribune’s side-by-side comparison.

Fake people.  Fake photography.  Fake insurance exchange that gives results with a shelf life, if you can get to that point.  Fake “economic health”.

Is anything real about these people?

Impure!

One of the more galling facets of the 2012 Presidential campaign was watching Mitt Romney taking flak from the social right, the Rick Santorum crowd, on having been marginally impure on social issues, while at the same time getting beaten up from the fiscal purists (egged on by the left) for Romneycare, and the Libertarians for having been insufficiently pro-Liberty, whatever that meant. 

Of course, the key difference was that Mitt Romney had been in office, governor of not only a large state, but a toxically left-leaning one, in which he had few legislative allies.  To get anything useful done as governor of Massachusetts - and he did – he had to compromise.  “Romneycare”, bad as it may be, was a better compromise than what the Massachusetts Democrats would have spawned. 

The lesson, of course, is that rock-solid principle is easy, when your job never involves having to engage on a daily basis with your opponents to get anything done.  US Congresspeople do that only on the most symbolic and ritual level. 

Governors?  It’s part of their daily job.

And so while the likes of Govenors Romney, Pawlenty, Walker and others may have great black marks against them in the great book of princples in the sky, those marks are given by people who’ve never had to negotiate with a recalcitrant state employee union, or horse-trade with a hostile legislative majority. 

Fact is – as I say all the time – politics is a marathon, not a sprint.  Things get done over time, not overnight.  It’s work for the obsessively patient. 

Society get changed not by the people who have the coolest slogan – “Repeal Now!” or “War on Womyn!” or “TRU LBRT!” or whatever it is that sends a tingle up one’s true believers’ legs – but by the people who not only show up, but keep showing up.

Which is Kevin Williamson’s point in this NRO piece, which you should read in its entirety, and which concludes:

The Democrats did not build the welfare state all at once in 1965, and Republicans didn’t have an honest shot at repealing it all at once in 1995. Everybody has a big plan, and Washington is full of magic bullets: leash the Fed, enact the Fair Tax, seal the borders. But what’s needed — what might actually result in a stronger American order — is a thirty years’ war of attrition against the welfare state and entrenched incompetency. Federal crimes and misdemeanors ranging from the IRS scandal to the fumbling response to Ebola suggest very strongly that we have management and oversight problems as well as ideological ones, but holding oversight hearings long after (one hopes) Ebola is out of domestic headlines provides very little juice for a presidential candidate facing a restive base all hopped up on Hannity. Being the guy who gets up and demands the repeal of Obamacare might get you elected president; being the guy who fixes the damned thing simply makes you a target for talk-radio guys who have never run for nor held an elected office but who will nonetheless micturate upon your efforts from a great height.

Everybody wants to run for president. But somebody has to save the country.

Read the whole thing.

And hold the sloganeering.

For Whom The Shill Polls

As part of a campaign to portray his election inevitable, because the economy is juuuuust hunky dory, Governor Messinger Dayton and his praetorian guard, the Twin Cities media, is pushing hard the notion that unemployment is down. 

Jeff Johnson rightly responds that underemployment – people working for less than they’re qualified for, because they’re taking any job they can get – is endemic and growing - a claim supported by the fact that tax revenues have not only fallen short of forecasts every month since the DFL budget took hold, but that the revenues are falling farther and farther behind. 

The media, especially the Strib, is in full cover mode, doing its best to downplay the underemployment statistics while cheerleading the top-line unemployment figures.

The interesting part?  The Strib itself, in the form of Lori Sturdevant – hardly a GOP sympathizer – last spring

So which is it, Strib?  A huge problem, or no problem at all (until December)?

Go ahead.  Tell me the media isn’t actively working to get Governor Messinger Flint-Smith Dayton re-elected.

Weekend Firearm Fun!

When making your weekend plans, remember – the second ”MN Carry Day and Safety Education Expo” is this Saturday,Saturday, Oct. 18. at St. Paul Harley Davidson, St. Paul

The event is free to attend, and family friendly. And it’s not just for gun owners – the event will cover a wide range of personal safety information.

And there’s a gun give-away, sponosred by Taurus USA, among many others.

And Uncle Franky’s mobile food truck will be on site all day!

Want more details? Go here!

And mark your calendars!

The Unthinkable

It was about this time four years ago that a small group of bloggers and activists got a call from the Chip Cravaack campaign; the challenger was within the margin of error against 200-term congressman Jim Oberstar.

It was unthinkable.

And was one of the headiest days in my life as a political activist; the Tea Party wave was flipping the unflippable. 

I didn’t think I’d see another day like it. 

I’m going to lead with all the usual disclaimers; it’s an internal poll, which can make it both more and less trustworthy. 

But an internal poll shows Torrey Westrom leading 12-term DFL Rep. Colin Peterson, 44-43, as the race turns into the home stretch:

A new survey released today by the Westrom for Congress campaign reports Republican challenger Torrey Westrom pulling ahead of 12-term incumbent Democrat Congressman Collin Peterson. Westrom now enjoys a lead among likely voters in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District (44%-43%), while thirteen percent (13%) are undecided

Of course, that’s a lot of undecideds – but then, that’s the point of releasing the polling news; to create the “bandwagon effect” that drives campaigns over the finish line in style.  Fact is, even if it’s close, Peterson has got to be sweating bricks right now;  rarely do challengers get within a three-digit margin of northwestern Minnesota’s ag pork king.

If this poll is even within 3-4 points of accurate, it’s bad news for the DFL.

My November 5 dream:  Torrey Westrom, Stewart Mills and Tom Emmer not only start measuring their drapes in Washington, but flip Minnesota’s congressional delegation not only red, but solidly right-of-center.

Women’s Issues

For almost a century, and especially in the past seventy years, the most dangerous thing to be in the Arab world has been a moderate.  Throughout the Middle East,  throughout the past generation or two, the first priority for Arab extremists – before even killing Jews – has been to eliminate or drive off all moderates. 

I bring it up not out of animus toward Arabs – don’t be an idiot – but to point out an area where American liberals act just like the PLO, Hezb’allah and Hamas. 

To the American liberal, the greatest enemy are the apostates; the women, blacks, Latinos, gays and other minorities that break with liberal dogma and vote conservative.

The left – as the National Review notes in an editorial earlier this week - is even baking it into the language:

The idea that there exists a meaningful subset of “women’s issues” has always failed to account for the fact that “women” is a category that in the American context contains both Condoleezza Rice and Rachel Maddow, both Republican governor Susana Martinez and Democratic gadfly Eva Longoria. Jeane Kirkpatrick was arguably the most powerful American woman of her time, and her issue was fighting totalitarianism at a time when Democrats were not much inclined to do so. Was that a women’s issue? It certainly was in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany . . .

One has to squint with some dishonest intent to conclude that the political tendency that represents women’s interests obviously is the one associated with Bill Clinton and Teddy Kennedy rather than the one associated with Margaret Thatcher and Nikki Haley.

That’s certainly charitable.

The Democrats’ attitude toward women — from the pity-party celebrity of Sandra Fluke to multi-millionaire Lena Dunham’s demands for subsidized birth-control pills — has always been based on a handful of strategies linguistically related to the word “patriarchy”: patronizing, patronage, paternalism, etc., something you would think that their feminist supporters might have noticed. But women, like African Americans and other minority groups, are for the Left a means to power, and the Democrats’ treatment of them is every bit as instrumentalist as was Bill Clinton’s treatment of the White House intern pool.

And some conservative feminist group needs to print this next graf - admittedly, in small type – on a t-shirt:

Meanwhile, the Democrats’ war on women — women who own or desire to own their own businesses, who are looking for decent jobs, who wish there were a way to get their children out of failing schools, who are concerned about the flood of illegal immigrants across our borders, who pay more in taxes than they do for housing or health care or for housing and health care combined, who own guns, who pay utility bills, who wish for credible responses to Ebola and the Islamic State, who resent being reduced to their genitals as a matter of political calculation — that war continues, as pitilessly and remorselessly as any Levantine jihad.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Trulbert! Part XVI – The Tracer Dance

 - 7:43 PM, October 31, 2015 – Corner of LaSalle/Blaisdell and Franklin, Minneapolis, MN

Paul Hendrickson never heard the 14.5mm KPV machine gun on Todd Chuffle’s truck fire.  He was dimly aware of a blinding flash.

But mostly, he sensed the back of his Toyota Camry getting violently slammed to the right, causing him to slew to the left.

He corrected hard to the right and jammed on the gas – but although the engine whined and the tachometer redlined, the car slowed, and its movement got more labored, as the sounds of grinding and smell of burned rubber and hot metal seeped in.  The car ground to a stop just around the corner, sheltered by a building.

“Holy crap”, he exhaled, sensing the car was tilting backward.

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Democrats: Pissing On The First Amendment

In Houston last summer, the Democrat-run government passed an “anti-discrimination” ordinance which, like most such ordinances, did little about discrimination but did sodomize freedom of association.   It was opposed by a variety of religious groups, for a variety of reasons.

But that was just the warmup.

Perhaps inspired by Barack Obama’s siccing of the IRS against dissenters, Houston’s Democrat-run city government is looking for payback against dissenters; it’s subpoenaing ministers’ sermons from the run-up to the vote for the ordinance.

That’s subpoenaing; not just sternly asking:

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

Dear Wisconsin “Jon Doe” prosecutors; I take it back.  You are no longer the most corrupt pettifoggers south of the Fed.

And this is not an aberration.  This is every Democrat, everywhere in the country.  Oh, they make nice noises about “liberties” like making dung statues of the Virgin Mary and waving their genitals around in public; but when it comes to the real ones, speech (by people not favored by the ACLU’s ministrations, meaning people from flyoverland in general), assembly, association, the fruits of ones labor, self-defense, self-determination?

If your local Democrats haven’t sicced the IRS, or a prosecutor, or their county attorney, on you yet, it’s just that they haven’t had a clear opportunity yet. 

All eggs to be broken to make the state omelet.

PS:  Don’t you dare say there’s a war on religion.

What Not To Do

I can almost hear every carry permit instructor in the Twin Cities writing down the details of this case as their prime example of what never, never, ever to do with your firearm and permit:

The complaint said [Matrix Richard] Lee got up and ran at the woman to retrieve the purse, but she drove at Lee and lifted her arm making some sort of gesture that, in fear of being shot, prompted Lee to grab his handgun, insert a full magazine and fire around the fleeing vehicle. The driver apparently gave him the finger, and angrily, he fired an additional shot at the car in effort to pop the tires, Lee told police.

Pro tip: if they are fleeing, and so far away that you have to steady your arm for a long range shot at a moving target, you are probably not “in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm”.

If the facts of the case are exactly as presented (always the caveat when the mainstream media is reporting on self-defense cases) then Mr. Lee would seem to deserve to be prosecuted for a whole dogs breakfast of charges, not the least of them reckless endangerment.

And not only will Mr. Lee truly deserve it, but I think we need to take a close look at whoever his carry permit training instructor was, just in case.

Doug Grow, Narrative Policeman

Surgeons do surgery.

Baseball players?  They play baseball.

And Doug Grow?

For four decades and change, generations of Minnesota voters know that Doug Grow is synonymous for flogging and fluffing the DFL narrative.

Yesterday’s MinnPost piece on the Severson press conference (which I wrote about yesterday) is one for the record books.

The DFL and media (ptr) narrative this year, by the way, is “DFL Victory is Inevitable”; keep that in mind as you read Grow’s description of the presser:

Finding the current election cycle a little boring?

The DFL sure hopes to keep it that way!

Unexpected:  Doug Grow leads off with one of those “too good to fact-check” claims:

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

Unbeknownst to each other, Republican secretary of state candidate Dan Severson had scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference, while DFL party chair Ken Martin had scheduled his own 11 a.m. newser to talk about the secretary of state race. In the same room.

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

It’s about as “unbeknownst” and unpredictable as, say, the MinnPost hiring a staff full of DFL shills.

Sources in the Severson campaign tell me that Severson had the conference room – where both pressers were held – booked from 10AM ’til noon.  When the DFL got wind of the presser, they swooped in and got the 11AM booking.

Initially, Severson had planned to devote his news event to the subject of voter participation among members of the military. Among other things, Severson contends that President Barack Obama’s administration, current secretary of state Mark Ritchie and DFL secretary of state candidate Rep. Steve Simon have all participated in efforts to suppress voting by members of the military.

And this, as I described yesterday, he did.  Mark Richie’s office sent county election officials a “how to” on finding ways to reject military absentee ballots; it’s there, in black and white.  The media was given a copy at the press conference – as they were given a copy of the absentee ballot reform bill co-authored by Simon that specifically exempted the military (who vote overwhelmingly conservative) from the reforms.

Amazingly enough, outside of the ofay mockery in the piece’s title (“Fraud! Suppression! Aspersions! Dueling press conferences wake up a sleepy secretary of state race”), the actual facts Severson brought up, the paper trail he presented supporting both Severson’s key allegations, never got mentioned.

“My Opponent Has Been Caught Masticating!”:  After Severson’s presser – whose actual subject you’d never know from reading Grow’s piece – Ken Martin took the stage.

I’ll say it again; “Ken Martin took the stage”.  We’ll come back to that.

But at 11 a.m., Severson moved to the back of the room in the state office building in St. Paul as the DFL’s Martin moved to the front…Martin said that at a Tea Party event in June, Severson claimed that Sen. Al Franken had won his 2008 election as a result of voter fraud. At that same meeting, Martin said, Severson claimed the DFL had re-captured control of the Legislature also because of fraudulent votes.

“The last thing we need is a conspiracy theorist as secretary of state,’’ Martin said. “I call on [GOP gubernatorial candidate] Jeff Johnson and [Republican Party Chair] Keith Downey to refute Severson’s unfounded and irresponsible allegations. I question Severson’s ability to be secretary of state when he makes dangerous allegations of crimes that don’t exist.’’

It was cheap theatrics.   And Severson answered them with the kind of burst of full metal rhetorical jacket that I wish a lot more Republicans were throwing back at the Media-Progressive Complex this year:

“I’m not casting aspersions,’’ Severson said. “I’m saying let’s solve the problem.’’

Now that’s a novel approach.

Cast This:  Of course, mentioning the problem is the problem, to the DFL and the media that works for it:  

But suggesting that DFLers win races because they cheat sounds a bit like an aspersion…But Severson said it’s not just his observations at campaign rallies that cause him to have doubts about the integrity of the system. He cited the “study” of an organization called Minnesota Majority that claimed there were more than 6,000 fraudulent voters in the 2008 Senate race in which, after a recount, Al Franken defeated incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes…Martin pointed out that in the recounts of the Coleman-Franken race and the Tom Emmer-Mark Dayton race of 2010, both parties “spent millions of dollars” as ballots across the state were recounted.

“Not a single instance of voter fraud was found,’’ Martin said.

Martin is lying, and Grow is just fine with that.

Doug Explains It All:  Anyway – charge met countercharge.  But here’s the interesting part; Grow elects to speculate:

Did Severson schedule his as a desperate bid to tie himself to the military and to inflame those in his GOP base convinced DFLers only win because they cheat?

The base is pretty inflamed already.

No – here’s the interesting part.  Here’s the part that undercuts Grow’s entire, snarky, dismissive premise:

Did Martin schedule his because the DFL is concerned that Simon needs to raise the profile of a down-ticket race?

Did who schedule it?

Steve Simon?

No.  Ken Martin, chair of the DFL.

Not Steve Simon, SOS candidate.

In fact, Steve Simon wasn’t present for the press conference.  About his own race. 

Martinized: Ken Martin did the whole thing.  Steve Simon was nowhere to be found.

Ken Martin, State DFL Chair, apparently feels the need to intervene directly in what is, in a normal election cycle, a boring, humdrum race that tracks, or sometimes lags, the top of the ticket.

Why would he do that?

I can think of a couple of reasons, by no means mutually exclusive:

  • Martin knows where Richie buried the bodies.  Corruption is as rampant in the SOS office as the GOP claims, and they need to do their best to keep a lid on the pot.
  • It’s Not A Humdrum, Sleepy Race At All:  I’ve heard two rumors from well-placed sources; first, that GOP internal polling shows Severson ahead.  Second, that Martin’s behavior in the past week shows that the DFL knows it.
  • That Air Of Inevitability?  Check It:  If Severson’s race is defying the “DFL is Inevitable” narrative, maybe other races are, too?  And if word gets out that the GOP has in fact defied the DFL’s “inevitable” victory, all electoral hell could break loose next month for the DFL.

Where was Steve Simon?

Why is Ken Martin intervening personally in this race, rather than sending some 22 year old communications minion, the way he normally would for the SOS race?

Stay tuned.

The Incredible Imploding Steve Simon

DFL Secretary of State candidate Steve Simon hasn’t had the easiest time of it.

First, he barely squeaked through his own DFL primary – getting 42% against a longtime perennial candidate and a future perennial candidate, in a primary race that should have been a coronation. 

Of course, he’s up against Dan Severson, a candidate with – alone among the MNGOP’s state office candidates – high name recognition, from a previous SecState and Senate run.  Severson is also the single prominent Republican who’s made a significant priority of reaching out to Latino, H’Mong, Somali and other immigrants. 

Rumors – and that’s all I have to go by so far, but they’re from fairly reliable sources – indicate that internal polling in both parties show that Severson is the only statewide GOP candidate to lead in the polls a month before the election.

The DFL reaction was predictable; the facts against them, they went for the sleaze.  The “progressive” alt-media’s attempt to paint Severson as a confederate sympathizer because of the color scheme on his lawn signs was not only idiotic, but transparently desperate. 

It’s only getting worse for Simon.

Vote Suppression! – This morning, Severson held a press conference in which he pointed out the known fact that 5% of Minnesota’s servicepeople and their families serving overseas get their votes counted – a travesty – and that…:

  • Mark Richie’s state department sent out a memo advising county election authorities on ways to legally reject military absentee ballots (active-duty military votes around 3/4 conservative Republican), and…
  • Simon – whose campaign lit says he wants to emulate Richie – co-authored a bill that exempted the military from an attempt to smooth out the absentee voting process.  In other words, a bill that made absentee voting easier for college students and other itinerant but reliable Democrat voters specifically left out the military. 

And unlike most press conferences for constitutional office races, the media actually showed up.

Perhaps because of one of the other attendees.

Captain Smith Leaves The Bridge:  MNDFL chair Ken Martin attended the press conference. 

Let’s let that roll around your head a little bit. 

The chair of the DFL party, who is working hard to find a way to keep the DFL from losing the House, but whose state office slate is purportedly already measuring the drapes in the Governor, State Auditor and Attorney General races, is taking time out to pimp for a candidate that should be a shoo-in. 

Why is that?  Because Simon is losing?  And because if Severson wins, we can finally get answers about the rot and corruption in the state’s election system?

We’ll find out soon enough. 

Oh, Martin’s whole line was claiming Severson is a “conspiracy theorist.  Of course, the numbers are real, as was the fact that Steve Simon is listed in black and white, as co-author of a bill that exempts the military from absentee vote reforms. 

And the media (!) actually pushed back on Martin, asking him if the DFL had erred in exempting the military from the reforms, which means the conspiracy is apparently on the DFL side of the aisle…

Anyway – more tomorrow.

That’s One Way To Speed Up The “Green Line”

The “Green Line” – nee the “Central Corridor”, aka “The current Met Council’s $1.4 Billion monument to its own wisdom” – has, exactly as predicted in conservative circles, turned out to be a very, very slow variety of “rapid transit”.  In its first four months in service, it’s clocked the trip between the downtowns at well over an hour; that’s about the same as the 50 Line limited stop bus it replaced, not that much faster than the 16 Local that it trudges down University with, and slower – much slower – than the 94 Express that it shouldered out of existence, except during rush hour. 

Part of the problem – exactly as I discussed on my radio show in 2007-2008 – is that the train operates at street grade level, and has to obey the same traffic signals as all the cars, trucks and buses on the street.

But at least one MTC driver seems to have figured out a way to jumpstart his route times – by ignoring traffic lights; the video in the attached story shows a “Green Line” train crossing a street in Prospect Park (southeast Minneapolis) against a green light on the cross street.  Note that that green light is on throughout the entire motion of the train across the street.

The MTC has an explanation, of course:

Metro Transit spokesperson Drew Kerr declined to answer specific questions about the video because “you can’t see what signals were indicating to the train. A train doesn’t follow green or red lights like a car does.”

If the train driver’s special signals conflict with the lights that the cars around it are seeing – as they clearly do?    I’m no Met Council traffic engineer, but I’m seeing a problem, here…

It’s A Mad World

Not only some rock stars, but indeed the Communist Peoples’ Republica of Vietnam gets free enteprise in a way that Mark Dayton, scion of a business family, to say nothing of “community organizer” Barack Obama, never can. 

Maybe the parts of the United States that value economic freedom need to launch a torpedo at a US destroyer…

To Be Fair

…this story wasn’t a surprise to anyone that’s had to try to “debate” liberals on Twitter about economics, or been in a room full of AM950 listeners.

Republicans are better informed about what’s going on in the world; according to Pew, it’s not even close:

So how stark were the partisan knowledge differentials?

Out of 12 questions asked, Republicans outperformed both Democrats and Independents on 10. The differences were most pronounced on the questions regarding Common Core, fracking and where Shiites outnumber Sunnis, where the percentage of Republicans answering correctly outpaced Democrats by double digits. But Republicans also outperformed Democrats on questions centering on the federal minimum wage and the Fed Chairwoman, even though she’s a Democrat appointed by Obama, while the minimum wage is Democrats’ favorite wedge issue this election year to try to keep Harry Reid (D – Nevada) as the Senate Majority Leader.

Now, I myself don’t put a lot of stock in these sorts of polls, at least for purposes of drawing snarky conclusions about relative intelligence across party lines.  That’s kinda the other side’s obsession.

Which is why I bring it up…

Subsidiary

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Subsidiarity” is the Conservative political principle that says things ought to be managed at the lowest level of organization capable of handling them.  School lunches, for example, should be selected by millions of individual Moms, not dictated by The First Lady of The United States.

President Obama is committed to this principle.  We will now screen arriving international air travelers for Ebola symptoms but those who exhibit symptoms will be a problem for local health officials, not the CDC or national government.

Muslim terrorists never attack so we don’t need boots on the ground in combat, there are only episodes ofworkplace violence or film protests gone bad for law enforcement to handle.

When immigration amnesty plans caused millions of illegal aliens to swamp the Mexican border, Congress gave extra money to pay local cops overtime rather than beef up Customs.

It’s good to see the President embracing Tea Party principles of government. If only Republicans were this good at it.

Joe Doakes

Politics is the worst possible way to deal with the realities of the world around us.