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Saturday, June 24, 2006

58B DFL Convention

I stopped by to observe the 58B convention. There were 4 candidates:

Willie Dominguez
Tonia Johnson
Antonio Rosell
Tom Lewinski (sp?)

First Ballot had Willie Dominguez and Antonio Rosell tied for first place (33%). Tonia Johnson followed at around 28%, and Tom Lewinski got two votes. Lewinski was dropped. After the 3rd ballot, Tonia Johnson fell below 25% and she was dropped. Antonio was leading by about 5%. During the 4th and 5th ballot Antonio was slowly gaining. He was at 56% on the 5th ballot. I left at that point thinking Antonio was going to win the endorsement. I heard later from Ken Avidor that things switched around at the 6th ballot. At that point Antonio dropped out, and Willie Dominguez got endorsed. Dominguez was the candidate being pushed by Jackie Cherryhomes.

I also saw a number of people who are active in Stonewall DFL at the convention. I confirmed that as reported earlier, Mike Hatch never showed up at any of the Stonewall DFL state convention meetings. Dyna Slyter also noted to me that Stonewall had not endorsed in the Governor's race. I found out from Megan Thomas that Hatch did meet with Stonewall DFL and that I should "find out more tomorrow". Does that mean that Hatch will show up at Gay Pride?

IP Convention

I stopped by to observe this convention. Rew at Powerliberal has some excellent live blogging of the convention. Powerliberal convention photos.

Convention business summary.

Hutchinson/Reed won handily.

I enjoyed this convention. Holding it at Midway Stadium was a nice touch. While at the convention I got a chance to catch up with John Birrenbach, who is still active in Independence Party politics.

Friday, June 23, 2006

DFL's Jess McIntosh Calls Brodkorb Out

McIntosh's call.... And the Drama Queen is out.

Harriet the Tortoise Dies


SYDNEY (AFP) - A 176-year-old giant tortoise believed to have been studied by famed English naturalist Charles Darwin, has died in Australia after a short illness.

The extremely elderly tortoise, Harriet, was hatched on the
Galapagos Islands in 1830 but lived out her final years at Australia Zoo in southeast Queensland where she was the star attraction.

Senior veterinarian John Hangar said the 150-kilogram (330-pound) reptile died on Thursday night after a short illness.

"She had been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure," Hangar told ABC radio.

"She had a fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quietly overnight."

Hangar said Harriet, who had made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest living animal, had been credited with helping Darwin pioneer his theory of evolution.

"It's thought she may have been taken off there (Galapagos) by Charles Darwin," he said. "She's spent a period of time in Britain and found herself at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane from about 1850 or 1860 onwards and eventually she found her way up to Australia Zoo."

Harriet was originally named Harry, as she was mistakenly identified as male, an error which was not rectified for more than a century.

Hat Tip: Pharyngula.

Pawlenty of Nothing

That's what Pawlenty's Office of Information Technology wants to pay for getting skilled help rebuilding the State's IT infrastructure.

Minnesota asks industry to lend it some free 'geeks'
Minnesota proposes to "borrow" professionals from private industry to reinvent the government's computer networks.
John Reinan, Star Tribune

Last update: June 21, 2006 – 11:28 PM

Minnesota wants the best minds in the computer business to come work in state government -- for free.

The state is circulating a proposal to high-tech firms and large corporations, asking them to lend computer experts to the Office of Enterprise Technology for up to a year. The private companies would continue to pay their employees' salaries and benefits.

The state plans to put the free geeks to work on an ambitious project to reinvent the government's computer network. The proposal lists 14 categories of work, ranging from cyber security to systems development to government website design.

It's part of the Pawlenty administration's Drive to Excellence, an efficiency and modernization program headed by Dan McElroy, the governor's former chief of staff and now senior adviser on innovation.

It also reflects the lack of funding for computer upgrades, which has left the state with some systems that are ancient by today's standards and often incompatible.

Is the State of Minnesota becoming a charity case under Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases especially in Hennepin County?

Private companies have had to adapt quickly to changing technology, and the state can learn a lot from their experience, said Gopal Khanna, Minnesota's chief information officer. A former top official with the Peace Corps, Khanna speaks with an evangelist's fervor about public-private partnership.

He hopes to renew the spirit of the "Minnesota Miracle" of the 1970s, when private companies "were honored and delighted to participate" in government projects to improve the state.

"We are all stakeholders in government," Khanna said. "We need to partner to make it better."

Khanna seems to be in over his head. His main qualification for this important position was that he'd been a reliable contributor to the Republican party.

Is Mark Kennedy a Bush Puppet?
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Daily Globe

Kennedy recently explained that voters want "change in the climate in Washington." If that is so — and it surely is — he will need to explain why he has demonstrated so little impact on Washington's dysfunctional atmosphere over the last several years.

He is also trying to have it both ways in regard to his association with the Republican president, George W. Bush, who is about as popular in Minnesota right now as Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Kennedy is happy to take in campaign money with the help of Bush and other Washington Republicans, but at the same time he's trying to maintain a safe distance. Congressional Quarterly showed Kennedy agreeing with Bush 87 percent of the time in 2005 (a drop from 97 percent in 2004), but Klobuchar is having a field day portraying the conservative Kennedy as a veritable clone of the president.

Of course, guilt by association only goes so far. On many of the issues Kennedy and Bush have agreed upon, so have most voters. The fact that Kennedy is a true conservative won't, in itself, defeat him in a Senate fight some are calling the most pivotal in the nation. Kennedy has already established that he is a formidable campaigner, and Minnesota is not nearly the bastion of liberalism it once was.

Even so, if the race comes down to who is more independent — Kennedy or Klobuchar — the challenger enjoys the clear advantage.

Dump Mike Opat Blog


Mark Hanson and I from Lloydletta's Nooz are contributors.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Patty Wetterling Starts a Campaign Blog

Chad from Fraters Libertas points this out.

Hopefully this blog will get updated regularly.

Michele Bachmann started and seemed to abandon a blog. Mike Grimes from In the Middle notes:

Michele Bachmann committed

If your a candidate and decide you want to have a blog, but don't want to write in the blog, and don't want to have a staffer write in the blog don't have a blog. If you want to know what was on Michele Bachmann's mind February 22nd, and December 8th here you go. Of course now someone on her staff will stumble on this and we will see three posts in the next week, but then it will stop again for two months.

The Wetterling blog takes comments. Kudos to the Wetterling campaign for allowing comments.

Episcopal Church Opposes Anti-gay Constitutional Amendments in Wisconsin and Elsewhere

The Fair Wisconsin blog has the scoop.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pat Kessler Reality Checks Mike Hatch

Politics in Minnesota via Craig Westover:

DFL Attorney General and endorsed candidate for governor, Mike Hatch, is fond of talking about a purported "billion in uncollected tax revenue." PIM did some checking with the Department of Revenue. Here's the reality check (hat tip on reality check to WCCO's and KTLK FM's Pat Kessler). There is no billion dollars in uncollected tax revenue. There is, however, an estimated tax gap of one billion. A tax gap is the difference between the total tax actually collected and the amount that could have been collected if all those required to pay had paid the correct amount of tax. The department maintains that only a faction of the gap could actually be collected.

I thought this claim by Mike Hatch was nonsense. That's good Kessler did a reality check on it.

UPDATE: I stand corrected:

PIM did the fact checking. The hat tip to Kessler is for the "reality check" moniker.
Craig Westover

Thanks for that Craig. I read this as a PIM summary on a Kessler report. Kudos to PIM for the original research.

Help Fair Wisconsin Defeat the Wisconsin Bachmann Amendment

June 30th is an important date for Fair Wisconsin, the statewide group leading the campaign to defeat the amendment. They will have to file with the state how much money they have raised for the campaign.

It's important not only for Fair Wisconsin to have as much money as possible to help win this one, but also to show everyone in Wisconsin that we're part of the winning side of this campaign. Fair Wisconsin is trying to raise $30,000 by June 30. So, please contribue to Fair Wisconsin right now. I just stopped over and contributed.

Ann Althouse urges her readers to donate to Fair Wisconsin. Go help them out here.

Liberal and conservative bloggers in Wisconsin are promoting this 30 by 30 campaign. You can follow what's going on with this effort to defeat the Wisconsin Bachmann amendment at the Fair Wisconsin blog here.

FRC has cow over Governor Erlich Firing Anti-gay Activist from DC Metro Board

From the FRC's daily bleating.....

Sexual Liberty Trumps Religious Liberty

Maryland governor, Robert Ehrlich (R) caved into radical homosexual activists and fired Robert J. Smith as his appointee to the Washington, D.C. Metro Board. All sides agree that Smith is an unusually diligent member of the Metro Board and that he actually reads the detailed financial reports of the capital region's excellent subway system. So what was Smith's offense? He expressed his belief as a Roman Catholic that homosexual behavior is "deviant." Smith made the statement as part of a political discussion about the marriage amendment on a cable TV channel, a venue completely apart from his duties as a Metro Board Member. Ehrlich acted quickly to meet the demand of openly homosexual Metro Board member Jim Graham that Smith recant his statement or be removed. Ehrlich's removal of Smith shows he is willing to deny religious liberty and freedom of speech to believing Catholics-to appease militant homosexuals. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting several homosexual activists as speakers here in Washington for its officially sanctioned observance of June as "gay pride" month. There is a clear connection between the EPA and the actions of Ehrlich. When the government affirms homosexuality, it must suppress religious freedom. The EPA has received hundreds of thousands of calls as a result of an e-mail by my good friend Don Wildmon at the American Family Association. Nonetheless, a spokesman for the Bush Administration's EPA says, "There are no plans to change anything." Contact Gov. Bob Ehrlich and ask him to borrow a backbone and stand up for his appointee and reinstate Robert Smith. Also, contact the White House and ask them to stop creating a hostile environment for Christians by allowing their agencies to publicly endorse and promote homosexuality.

More at the Washington Blade. Dan Blatt comments on this one at Gay Patriot. This generated interesting discussion in the comments.

First Box Turtles, Now Snakes....

Pam Spaulding has the scoop.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blogs on the Drama Queen's New Gig


Polinaut reports that Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed is now working for the Mark Kennedy campaign. Since he doesn't see any conflict of interest, he will continue to write MDE.
Did Brodkorb really say he can do this 'since his ideas are his own'?


A few months ago, I caused a firestorm when I asked whether any bloggers were tied to any campaigns. Apparently it was perceived as innuendo, and when it comes to blogger-MSM innuendo, it's a one-way street.

At the time, the one prominent blog I never heard from was Minnesota Democrats Exposed, a must-read blog that dares to say what no campaign in this safe, poll-driven, mush world of campaign flaks and consultants would ever allow on its own.

What always interested me is the work blogger Michael Brodkorb did was invariably picked up -- as themes -- by the state Republican Party; not surprising since Brodkorb is a former communications boss with the state Republican Party under then-chair Ron Eibensteiner. Up until he got sued by Blois Olson, the identity of the writer of MDE was a secret, at least creating the illusion that there was a good reason for anonymity.

And a Polinaut comment:

And Mr. Brodkorb was the one who shut down all debate at the GOP convention to make sure no one would question the ruberstamp/railroad of Pawlenty endorsement. He has always been in Ron's back pocket and will continue to be a shill for the Party Leadership
Posted by Sam at June 20, 2006 04:45 PM

This reminds me of MN Publius's claim:

A MN Publius reader has tipped us off that Michael Brodkorb of MDE has been paid in the last three weeks to do opposition research on Amy Klobuchar. The source could not name who is paying Brodkorb, but is absolutely certain that he has been contracted to do this work. Michael Brodkorb's exact connection to the MN GOP Party has been continually questioned but Brodkorb has never given a definitive answer. In light of the recently revised FEC rules governing bloggers paid by political organizations, MN Publius challenged Brodkorb to delineate his exact connections to political organizations but he, again, skirted the issue.

Brodkorb at the time responded:

MN Publius has made a very serious charge against me and I feel the need to respond. I am not getting paid to do research on Amy Klobuchar. I am not paid by any campaign or political party to do oppostion research on Democrats. I am not paid to blog.

I couldn't blog on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and work on a campaign. No campaign manager or candidate would allow me to continuing blogging on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and work on their campaign at the same time.

To be completely honest, my work on Minnesota Democrats Exposed has limited my ability to work professionally in politics. There have been days when I have thought about ending Minnesota Democrats Exposed so a few doors that have been closed could open back up.

As Bob Collins at Polinaut concludes:

Brodkorb, however, says you might see a "small drop" in coverage of the U.S. Senate race. Even so, the relationship between MDE and the Mark Kennedy campaign is going to strain the ability of either side to avoid responsibility for the words and actions of the other. Like it or not, there is now a "connection" between the Kennedy campaign and MDE.


Craig Westover Parrots Front Page's Straw Man Arguments


Craig mentions a recent Karl Rove statement about the left vs right blogs and quotes from a Front Page summary of Lefty blog response. The Front Page story attributed quotes from a commenter to Rawstory. Here's the Rawstory response to Rove. Here's what Frontpage said:

"F**k you Karl Rove," was how Raw began its studied response. "We are angry and we hate you and your boss as well as the rest of the f***ed up media and crony s*#t we all see all the time in addition to what has become of a once great country going down the tubes!!!!"

This was a comment to Rawstory's story - but wasn't the original story. This would be like a lefty blogger attributing one of Swiftee's more colorful comments to Craig.

This is poor work by Craig Westover to accept the Frontpage story without fact checking (a single click away). I'd expect better of him. Powerliberal has more.

To his credit, Westover posts my email to him on this. Westover should post links to some of the original lefty sources, rather than to Frontpage, so his readers can go and get the full story from the original horse's mouth.

Jeff Kouba from Bachmann v Wetterling also crows about the Frontpage story. Unfortunately Bachmann v Wetterling doesn't take comments, which are critical for the proper function of the "self-correcting blogosphere".

Drama Queen Takes Swipes at Entenza, Hatch and Otto

There are several interesting posts over on the Drama Queen's site. Brodkorb raises the Entenza Draft issue here, using the Lloydletta's Nooz story on the topic as background. Brodkorb has another post about Shawn Otto's campaign finance shenanagans. He then takes a swipe at Mike Hatch on the immigration issue.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pentagon Lists Homosexuality as Mental Disorder

San Francisco Chronicle:

A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Critics said the reference underscores the Pentagon's failing policies on gays, and adds to a culture that has created uncertainty and insecurity around the treatment of homosexual service members, leading to anti-gay harassment.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeremy M. Martin said the policy document is under review.

The Pentagon has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, uncovered the document and pointed to it as further proof that the military deserves failing grades for its treatment of gays.

Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the center, said, "The policy reflects the department's continued misunderstanding of homosexuality and makes it more difficult for gays and lesbians to access mental health services."

The document, called a Defense Department Instruction, was condemned by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.

"It is disappointing that certain Department of Defense instructions include homosexuality as a 'mental disorder' more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake," said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Congress members noted that other Pentagon regulations dealing with mental health do not include homosexuality on any lists of psychological disorders. And in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, nine lawmakers asked for a full review of all documents and policies to ensure they reflect that same standard.

"Based on scientific and medical evidence the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 — a position shared by all other major health and mental health organizations based on their own review of the science," James H. Scully Jr., head of the psychiatric association, said in a letter to the Defense Department's top doctor earlier this month.

Hat Tip: Pam Spaulding

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Former Family Research Council Lobbyist Offers $1000.00 for Hot Lesbo Threeway Action at DC Gay Pride

Wonkette has the story.

afterward, we got a snazzy hotel room at the mayflower downtown. on the way over there, this really hot business man in a pinstriped suit walked past me, said hello, and doubled back. he asked me my name and introduced himself (jack burkman, government relations strategies), asked where i went to school, etc, gave me his card, and asked me to call him. i later texted him and never could get rid of him again. he thought he talked to me on the phone several times, but he never did. i always made kat or kristin be me. he told kristin about how he really enjoyed my outfit (TITS GALORE) and that i was beautiful, etc. by the end of the night (5 am or so), he was offering to pay for our room and give us a thousand dollars if two of us would fuck him. oh, jack burkman. his card is my DC souvenir.

Here is Jack Burkman's Lobbying Registration with the FRC.

I wonder what Tony Perkins will say to that.