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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Judy Johnson: Stadium Commission Holds Hearings to Get Public Input in the Soon to Be Closed on Mondays Downtown Library

Judy Johnson who is running for the Senate District 43 sent me this observation.

I just saw a ch 5 news report that the Minnesota Twins Baseball Commission (or whatever they call themselves) are planning the ballpark and want the citizens opinion on the plans. People can go to the Minneapolis Library at 7pm on Monday to have their ideas heard about the plans in progress.

They gotta be kidding - they won't let us vote which is the most important "opinion" - but after we've been stuck with this no referendum deal - now they want to hear from us. It just can't get any more crazy! Maybe CCARL should show up and finally be heard - since they are now apparently sincere about listening to the people...

Thought you would appreciate the irony!

Aren't they talking about reducing the library hours for lack of funding - but plenty of money for the stadium - perfect location to hold the meeting - the irony is multi-dimensional!


This isn't just ironic, this is outrageous.

Keep sending those letters to the editor to the Strib and Pioneer Press. In your letters mention the candidates you think should be defeated. If people focus on Mark Stenglein, he can be defeated.

There's a forum coming up on Monday for Stenglein v Gray. From Minneapolis Issues:

The second forum is next Monday, October 23 at Plymouth City Hall at
8:40pm and moderated by the League of Women Voters. Address is 3400 Plymouth Blvd. I'm looking into sending a reporter to tape it.

Gray has this material posted on his campaign site

http://www.grayforcountycommissioner.com/schedule.asp

Ann

Ann Alquist
News Director
KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio
90.3 FM Minneapolis / 106.7 FM Saint Paul
The KFAI Evening News broadcasts Monday through Thursday at 6pm.
www.kfai.org

Keith Ellison Discussion on Minneapolis Rumors

Here.

Posted 20 Oct 2006 17:40 by Megan Goodmundson

If I remember correctly, didn't she file last year as a candidate for city council against Paul Ostrow?

Also I think she makes some guest appearances on the infamous Booker Hodges & Al Flowers show. I don't know how one gets access to MTN archives but I think May thru Nov 05 would have some appearances of Amy Alexander.

On 10/20/06 9:11 PM, "Michelle Hill" wrote:

I will respond to this only because I know a little more than any of you
about what really happened between the two of them. Remember, just because someone may have mental issues, does not make them a liar.

There are people who prey on mentally challenged individuals because people like you will simply say the victim is "ill" or "crazy." These people are
the perfect victims for rapists.

Believe what you may, in the end, but some of her claims mighty just be
true. There [sic] relationship may have been more than is being represented.

Mark Snyder:
I know some of what has happened between Amy Alexander and Keith Ellison as
I have been a volunteer for the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota
(EJAM) and saw how Amy Alexander behaved.

Friday's Star Tribune featured an article in the Metro section with more
background on Amy Alexander and her issues with Keith Ellison. The quotes
from Darrell Gerber and Paula Maccabee were accurate.

Amy Alexander did verbally attack Ellison, other board members and other local elected officials on the EJAM listserv. She also attacked me verbally when I questioned some of her statements and she was ultimately removed from the listserv due to her harassing behavior.

I don't know Amy Alexander well enough to say whether her behavior was due to any mental illness, but her behavior was inappropriate and her claims about Ellison and EJAM have no merit, in my opinion.

Mark Snyder
Windom Park


Someone pointed out that Amy Alexander had filed to run against Paul Ostrow. I recall meeting her at a meet the candidates event.

I ran into a Natalie Johnson Lee operative recently - and he said he thought Keith was an embarrassment, and was planning on supporting Tammy Lee.

Marilyn Musgrave's Warped Priorities

XXX Ron Kind Ad



This video podcast includes the ad. Stations in the area are refusing the ad. This is from the UW Lacross Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Podcast.

As I said before, I wasn't suprised to find that this was a reworked Vernon Robinson ad.

Friday, October 20, 2006

This makes me miss my cats



Lloyd died 3 years ago and Kiddlewink died almost a year ago.

X Rated Campaign Ad

KSTP had a story about an X rated campaign ad ran by republican Paul Nelson in Western Wisconsin, running against Ron Kind. KSTP mentioned that Nelson got this ad from a North Carolina Republican candidate. They didn't mention which North Carolina candidate, but it was Vernon Robinson, who I've written about before. There's more background about this situation at Original Above the Border Line.

Republican U.S. congressional candidate Paul R. Nelson defended a controversial Internet ad Wednesday, while another GOP leader called it “below the belt.”

Late Tuesday, Gary Arneson, chairman of the 3rd Congressional District GOP, contacted the Tribune with a statement on Nelson’s ad.

“I disapprove of Paul Nelson’s controversial ad. No one wants to replace Ron Kind more than I do. But to say Ron Kind pays for sex is below the belt and unbecoming of a Republican candidate for Congress,” Arneson said. “I disagree with Ron Kind, but even he doesn’t deserve that. Ron is a politician, and he can take it. But his young boys should not have to hear such insinuations and now they have.”

It is an ad, Nelson boasts, that "the mainstream media won't show!"

And for obvious reasons.

"Ron Kind," the ad continues, "even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia. Ron Kind pays for sex but not for soldiers."

Nelson's ad so irked state Republican leaders that it merited a call last week from Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Rick Wiley to Kind's campaign manager, Matt Sweeney, in which, Kind said, Wiley took pains to "denounce" it.

Wiley acknowledged Monday that he called Sweeney about the advertisement last week but said the discussion was "off the record." He said he called Sweeney only to weigh in on what he thought about it.

So what does he think about it?

"It's not a good ad. There is no doubt about it," Wiley said. "(Nelson) would be better served if he sticks to the issues out there that folks want to hear about."

"...fortunately, some leaders in the Republican Party have chosen to turn their backs on Paul. This is the kind of weak-kneed leadership that grass-roots activists have been complaining about," Muller said.

Nelson said he recently got a call from Wiley.

"Mr. Wiley expressed his unhappiness with us," Nelson said. "We told him we thought the ad accurately depicts the shameful, deplorable waste of government dollars that we say it does."

Nelson said he did not conceive the ad. In fact, it originally wasn't even his; the advertisement was put together for a congressional hopeful in North Carolina. Nelson said he paid its producer something less than $5,000 to fashion it to target Kind.


Vernon Robinson is especially well known for this ad.

Marilyn Musgrave - A Theocrat Favorite

The November 2nd issue of Rolling Stone magazine (something I don't normally read) has a scorching, profane, hilarious cover story on the 109th Congress, which the magazine names 'The Worst Congress Ever'. The story is by Matt Taibbi. I'd call it a little over the top, but its good entertainment on a cold evening.

They also name the '10 Worst' people in Congress. Their selections include Dennis Hastert, Curt Weldon, William Jefferson (the only Democrat), Tom Tancredo, James Sensenbrenner, and yes, Marilyn Musgrave from Colorado, who the magazine calls 'The Queen of Gay Bashing'.

The magazine reports she got an endorsement from the KKK in May of this year, thanks to her ardent support of legalized concealed weapons and her work on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

The ever-witty Barney Frank of Massachusetts is quoted:

But (Barney) Frank notes one thing he admires about Musgrave. "If you're going to have someone who's a hater, it's best that she's not very bright. I appeared with her in a couple of forums to debate her bill, but she's totally incapable of even explaining what it says."


This debate obviously wasn't on the floor of the US House, as the GOP majority caucus has all but shut down committee hearings, floor debates and amendments. That's how we end up with loans to the DM&E railroad.

Welcome Almanac Visitors

Mary Lahammer mentioned the Lloydletta's Nooz story about Mike Hatch's anti-gay record in her blogs section on Almanac. This story deserves wider circulation.

Great Letter to the Editor in the Strib

Ray Rossberg writes on the CCARL list:

For what it's worth, the Strib will be printing another of my letters tomorrow. I'm surprised since it was one of the harsher ones I'd written.

The Twins stadium tax issue has served one useful purpose. It has increased the visibility of the formerly low-profile Hennepin County Board and particularly the commissioners.

Unfortunately, seeing them in their new prominence is like turning on the lights in a seldom-visited basement and finding out that dreadful things are now living there.

Rather than addressing rampant crime, soaring property taxes and similar mundane issues, the bulk of their time has been spent aiding the Governor and a billionaire team owner in their pursuit of a stadium and in plotting to deny us the right to vote.

These were insolent acts perpetrated on us by arrogant politicians who believe they are insulated from public oversight and who have worked far harder to represent the Twins and Governor's interests than our own.

If allowed to continue, they will surely use these same procedures to force us to pay for a new Vikings stadium.

Reelect these people? No, they deserve the same treatment as the things living in the basement.

Sweep the bums out!


The Minneapolis Library Board is voting to close libraries, and Mark Stenglein has made the Stadium boondoggle his single priority. On November 7, replace Mark Stenglein. Vote Greg Gray for County Commissioner.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Craig Westover Column on Gay Marriage

It's quite insightful and is available here.

OK, enough about same-sex marriage. It's a distraction from important issues. People on the street don't care. A gay marriage amendment is unnecessary. We have a law. Let's move on.

Would that we could. What politicians and a gay-marriage-weary straight society are missing is this: The "unnecessary" debate, right here in Ole and Lena's Minnesota, has set a rising level of expectations among an increasing number of same-sex couples. The reality is it's time to grasp the inevitable and make it look like a plan.

Based on data from the American Community Survey (which replaces the Census Bureau's long-form document), the number of self-identified same-sex couples in Minnesota increased 76 percent in the past five years, the third largest percentage increase in the nation (9,147 couples in 2000 to 16,081 in 2005).

Is this the lavender horde that Defense of Marriage Act supporters have been warning us about?

According to analysis of the survey data by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, the increase in same-sex couples is a combination of more couples forming relationships and — even more — same-sex couples willing to acknowledge existing relationships.

"Most likely, as stigma associated with same-sex partnering and homosexuality decreases, more same-sex couples are willing to identify themselves as such on government surveys," said Gary Gates, senior research fellow at the Williams Institute and author of the study.


Read the whole thing.

Catchy Parody John Kline Ad

Lakeville Dad has it. The Hogans Heroes music is bound to get on Kline's nerves.

The DFL seems to have the Kline-Rowley race in their sights. They just put out a press release attacking Kline.

MINNESOTA DFL PARTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Contact: Jess McIntosh
(651) 251-6315
jmcintosh@dfl.org

Nick Kimball
(651) 251-6334
nkimball@dfl.org

JOHN KLINE CONTINUES LYING ABOUT COLEEN ROWLEY'S CAMPAIGN

ST. PAUL (10/19/06) – John Kline's latest break with reality occurred yesterday during a FOX9 interview. Kline asserted that David Bailey, a "senior advisor" of Coleen Rowley, favored the legalization of meth. Kline then went on to say that the importance of this claim lay with the fact that the "senior advisor" had authored Rowley's position papers featured on her website.

Kline manages to lie three times in the same number of sentences.

Bailey does not want meth to be legalized. He has written personally about the option of decriminalizing penalties for certain drugs. But at no point has he advocated the legalization of meth.

Bailey is not a "senior advisor" to the Rowley campaign – he is an unpaid staffer who joined the team far later than other staff, paid or unpaid.

Bailey does not author the position papers on Rowley's website. Those were written by the candidate herself, largely last fall before Rowley had ever spoken to Bailey.

"This is a classic Karl Rove-style attack," said Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez. "Coleen Rowley's greatest strengths are her ethics and critical faculties. Anyone who knows Coleen's story knows that she doesn't let anyone else speak for her -- she speaks for herself. And she has always stood up to unethical behavior – no matter the cost.

"John Kline owes it to the voters of Minnesota to elevate his side of the debate and end these baseless and false attacks on Coleen Rowley. We realize that it's inconvenient for Kline to discuss the issues, as he's spent the last eight years voting in lockstep with George W. Bush and contributing to Republican Congress's many failures. But his aversion to running on his record does not excuse him from his responsibility to campaign with integrity."

###

Blog at www.dflers.org !

Chair Brian Melendez, Associate Chair Donna Cassutt

255 East Plato Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55107 www.dfl.org

Phone: (651) 293-1200 Toll Free: (800) 999-7457 Fax: (651) 251-6325


I have to say, I'm impressed by a candidate who writes their own position papers.

Gil Gutknecht Goes for the Theocrat Vote

Tim Walz didn't take the usual John Kerry type line on gay marriage. When asked by Lambert and Janacek on the topic this is what he said:

And the best thing that ever happened to me was to get married and I don't see a reason to deny that to anyone. So I'm pretty consistent on that, of where government should not be in our lives.


This ends the questions. Walz opposes efforts to write discrimination into the constitution. Now Gil Gutknecht is getting desparate, so he thinks he that pulling the old gay marriage scare card will work. He also drove up to St Paul for the Focus on the Family Rally to get photographed with James Dobson.

Press Release from the Gutknecht website:

Pro gay marriage group to campaign for Tim Walz

10.17.2006

Rochester, Minn. - According to independent expenditure reports, the Human Rights Campaign Fund plans to begin a phone campaign against First District Congressman Gil Gutknecht. The Human Rights Campaign is the self-described largest organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexuals. The group opposes Gutknecht largely for his stance on marriage.

"Congressman Gil Gutknecht believes marriage is a union between one man and one woman," said Gutknecht for Congress spokesman Bryan Anderson. "The Human Rights Campaign and Tim Walz disagree. Elections are a choice, and Gil Gutknecht clearly stands with a majority of First District voters on this important issue."

The Human Rights Campaign supports gay marriage, using the public school system to educate students about transgender issues, the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and the placement of liberal judges on federal courts.

"John Adams said, 'Facts are stubborn things.' The fact is Tim Walz is left wing, no matter how much he tries to convince us otherwise. One can simply look to his support from big labor and liberal special interests as evidence," concluded Anderson.

Gutknecht was first elected in 1994. He is a member of the House Agriculture, Government Reform and Science Committees. He serves as chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Dairy, Nutrition, and Forestry.


I guess Gutnecht's people don't realize that the public is in support - by sizable margins - of repealing the Bill Clinton policy, Don't Ask Don't Tell.

It's rather ironic that Gutnecht's website also features photos of that well known defender of marriage, Newt Gingrich.

I wonder if he'll be making a road trip to Living Word Christian Center next?

You can find more about Tim Walz, go here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Amy Alexander Story Makes Strib

She's the woman behind that 911 call accusing Ellison of assault. The Strib interviews Alexander and the Ellison campaign.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alex Whitney Out for Votes as Gay Republican

Strib here. He's running against Margaret Kelliher - who voted for the stadium tax.

Alex Whitney, who has worked as a fundraiser for nonprofit groups and the GOP, also has made a personal contribution of $5,000 to his own race.

While gay and lesbian politicians are no longer unusual in the United States, those who avow their sexual orientation are rare in the Republican Party, which has pressed for constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Whitney is running in a district that long was represented by Minnesota's first openly gay legislator, former DFL Sen. Allan Spear, who was succeeded by another gay DFLer, Scott Dibble. Openly lesbian DFL Rep. Karen Clark represents an adjoining Minneapolis district.

"I have great respect for my opponent and his family," Kelliher said. "My focus on this campaign is on lowering property taxes and making health care more affordable. This announcement doesn't change that focus."

State Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, came out as gay in 2005, three years after he was elected in a socially conservative area. Last month he narrowly weathered a primary election challenge from a fellow Republican who emphasized family values and traditional morality.

Whitney said Tuesday that the angriest reactions to his candidacy have come from gay Democrats. "They're furious at me, even more than socially conservative Republicans," he said.

While he has made little secret of his sexual orientation, his political orientation may be even more controversial.

"Living in Minneapolis," he said, "I can safely tell you that coming out of the closet as a Republican was far more tumultuous for me than coming out as gay."


If I were Alex Whitney, I would talk about the stadium issue big time. That's an issue that can have legs against Kelliher. The DFL and GOP candidates have the same positions on gay issues and abortion rights.

IP Candidate John James Calls Out Hatch and Swanson


News Release
For Immediate Release
October 17, 2006
651-351-1235
Contact: Marc Hugunin (marc@pepinhugunin.com)

John James, Independence Party candidate for Attorney General, says
Mike Hatch "Asleep at the Wheel" on MVST


"The Attorney General should be the guardian of the Minnesota state
Constitution," John James, Independence Party candidate for Attorney
General, said today.


Instead, Attorney General Mike Hatch and his deputy, Lori Swanson, were
"asleep at the wheel," he said, in failing to protest a Constitutional
amendment dedicating the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST) to
transportation purposes.


"The question before the public is not whether we need more money for
roads and transit," James said. "The question is whether we want to
make the state's budget one Constitutional amendment at a time. Setting
today's already antiquated tax laws in concrete in the Constitution
might make it impossible to modernize Minnesota's fiscal systems to fit
the 21st century economy in which we are living."


James also said that the Constitutional amendment is virtually
meaningless, because the funds in question are already available to the
governor and legislature. The funds could be appropriated to the
proposed purpose?the enhancement of Minnesota's transportation
system?at any time.


"By falling asleep at the wheel on this issue, Mike Hatch and Lori
Swanson let the governor and the Legislature off the hook," James said.
"They would pass off on the public the difficult decisions that our
representatives are elected to make. As Attorney General, I would do
everything in my power to prevent the Minnesota Constitution from
becoming cluttered with picayune, day-to-day operational issues that
our elected officials are supposed to resolve."


John James is the Independence Party candidate for Minnesota Attorney
General. He is part of Team Minnesota with Peter Hutchinson for
Governor, Dr. Maureen Reed for Lieutenant Governor, Lucy Gerold for
State Auditor, and Joel Spoonheim for Secretary of State. As Team
Minnesota's Attorney General, John James will make sure that the law
works for all Minnesotans. He will help shape the laws needed to move
Minnesota forward on the things that matter?education, health care,
transportation and the environment.


To learn more, go to www.TeamMN.com.

Mark Kennedy Declines MPR Interview

Gary Eichten is offering the 3 major US Senate candidates an hour on the air. It's just Gary and some callers, no debate with other candidates. Robert Fitzgerald was on Monday's show. Amy Klobuchar is on right now (11:00 am on Tuesday).

Mr. Eichten reported that Kennedy has declined the invitation.

Maybe he's shooting a new commercial.

Maybe he's talking to a recruiter about finding a new job in 2007.

Great LTE in the Star Tribune

Letter of the day: Conservatives should emulate Goldwater

According to the media, a conservative -- or a Republican, for that matter -- has to be someone who is a white Evangelical Christian who cannot stand the "immorality" of the left, and is a champion of government advocating spirituality and "values."
I am a conservative, and I am a Republican. Yet I am none of the above. I am a Barry Goldwater conservative. I value limited government. I don't care whether you are gay and want to get married because I value a limited government. I do not care what name you call God and how often you go to church, because I value a limited government.

Goldwater had it right when he said that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell need "a swift kick in the ass."

I value the free market and the entrepreneur. Lower taxes are the way to achieve this. Low taxes are the essence of the limited government that I value.

I also value a strong national defense. I value an engaged foreign policy in a post-9/11 world. We cannot sit idle while others think of ways to attack.

These are my core Republican "values." I want my party back.


GARRICK KAY, SPRING LAKE PARK



Long long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was interested in the Republican party for the very reasons that this letter writer cites. We've gone pretty far afield.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Continuing Education for Brad Finstad's Constituents

In response to this letter to the editor in the New Ulm Journal....

Finstad took the first step

TO THE EDITOR: There has been a noticeable drop in and around New Ulm since this spring and I assumed the high cost of fuel to be the reason, but now I’m told the Hennepin County residents boycott of New Ulm and Brown County may be the real reason.

It is a fact that the Metropolitan area has far more individuals with high educational degrees per capita than the “outstate” area, but believe me we’re not stupid. The letter writers may be disappointed with the State Legislature but if they give Rep. Finstad credit for convincing the majority to vote for the stadium bill they are giving him more credit than he deserves.

Any person that has ever served on a governing board of an organization knows that someone has to take that first step in order to move on. I congratulate Rep. Finstad for taking that first step, be it right or wrong, rather than have the issue linger, thereby saving time for many other issues that affect Minnesota.

My idea of a perfect solution would be like other private enterprises, employee owned, the better you perform the larger your piece of the pie. The origin and frequency of the letters give me a hint of a little local “back door” campaigning.

This whole situation reminds me of a very colorful city council member who served New Ulm some 50 years ago. Alfred “Patty” Baltrusch regularly would make a motion to bring an issue to the table, and then be the first to vote against it.

ELMER ROLLOFF



I wrote a second letter, which the newspaper published.

TO THE EDITOR: In response to Elmer Rolloff’s letter to the editor:

Funding capital projects for private enterprises is not part of the government’s role. Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota were under no obligation to levy taxes to fund a stadium project for a privately owned sports team. Giving Rep. Finstad a clap on the back for “taking that first step” presumes a government responsibility that doesn’t exist.

Rep. Finstad had an op-ed published in my own hometown newspaper, the Grant County Herald, before the 2006 legislative session convened. He was urging out-state voters to contact their own legislators and urge them to support this 30 year sentence for Hennepin County taxpayers. Mr. Rolloff’s suggestion that Rep. Finstad deserves no credit for persuading other lawmakers to support the stadium is not true. He held firm during the conference committee meetings at the end of the session to make sure the final bill met all of the Pohlad family’s requirements.

And as for suggesting that Mr. Skillings had a role in my making comments about Rep. Finstad, that isn’t true. I speak for myself.

Look at the facts, consider the ethics of all of Rep. Finstad’s work, and vote accordingly on Nov. 7.

MARK HANSON


I'm like the David Brooks of New Ulm.

Upcoming CD5 Debates

As always, regardless for whom you will cast your vote, it is important that we are as informed of voters as possible.

AM 950 and Rossi's Steakhouse

When: Tuesday 17Oct2006
Time: 5 - 6:30 pm
Where: Rossi's Steakhouse 80 S 9th Street, Minneapolis

Jewish Community Sponsored Debate

When: Tuesday 17Oct2006
Time: 7 pm
Where: Beth El Synagogue 5224 West 26th Street, St. Louis Park

UMPIRG (UofM Public Interest Research Group) Debate

When: Wednesday 18Oct2006
Time: 6-8 pm
Where: University of Minnesota 250 Anderson Hall (Behind Ted Mann Concert Hall)


More Proof - Brad Finstad is a Deadbeat

From a story in the New Ulm Journal:

Finstad earned recognition this past session as the chief author and main proponent of the bill that authorized Hennepin County to finance a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. Skillings has questioned why Finstad should have spent the amount of time he did on an issue that may be of some interest to people in District 21B but is of greater interest and benefit to the owners of the Minnesota Twins.

Finstad said at a League of Women Voters forum in New Ulm last week that a state representative should be willing to tackle issues that benefit the whole state, not just his own district.


So, he admits that a Twins Stadium is a benefit to the entire state (a premise that I don't swallow), but he refuses to have the entire state help foot the bill.

Nice.

If you swim in a sewer, at some point you'll stink

Mehlman denies role in ousting of official
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Financial Times

Updated: 12:41 a.m. CT Oct 16, 2006
Ken Mehlman, the powerful chairman of the Republican National Committee, was on Sunday put on the defensive about his alleged role in the ousting of a State Department official in 2001 who was a political foe of Jack Abramoff, the former "superlobbyist" convicted on corruption charges this year.

Mr Mehlman said he did not recall the specifics of the removal of Allen Stayman, who supported changes to labour laws on the Northern Mariana Islands, an important client of Mr Abramoff, but said it was "not true" he had the authority to fire anyone in his former role as political director at the White House.

With mid-term elections looming on November 7 and the Republican party struggling to hold on to its majority in Congress, questions about Mr Abramoff's ties to the party as well as its response to the Mark Foley congressional sex scandal could not have come at a worse time.

The ties between Mr Mehlman and Mr Abramoff, which were highlighted in a report by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, follow the release of hundreds of e-mails by a congressional committee investigating the former lobbyists' ties to the Bush administration.

The e-mails shed new light on Mr Abramoff's wheeling and dealing in Washington, including how he allegedly called in favours from a vast network of Republican allies for various political appointments and endorsements – succeeding in some endeavours and failing in others.

In one e-mail, one of Mr Abramoff's associates declared: "Mehlman said he would get him [Mr Stayman] fired."

Mr Mehlman said in an interview on CNN on Sunday that he frequently had people come to see him with political and personnel issues. "I had a way of dealing with all these matters, which is to let the policy-makers or the personnel deciders know exactly what people said. And they made the decisions," he said.

A lobbyist associated with Mr Abramoff met White House officials on 12 occasions in 2003 and 2004 on behalf of an association that represented PartyGaming and other online gaming websites, according to billing records released by Congress.

White House officials' meetings with Shawn Vasell, a former associate of Mr Abramoff, were documented by the latter's former lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. The documents were released following a broader investigation into contacts between Mr Abramoff's team and the Bush administration by the House committee on government reform.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Excellent Column by Nick Coleman

It's on the Stadium Boondoggle.

Mike Hatch's Anti-Gay Record

Lloydletta's Nooz has obtained a copy of the Strib 1994 editorial criticizing Hatch for his anti-gay pandering during the 1994 DFL primary.

1994: Hatch Rejected Opportunity To Appear Before Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus. "Hatch's troubles began when he rejected the opportunity to appear at a Jan. 22 candidate forum sponsored by the Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus. Every declared DFL candidate for governor attended the candidate screening except Hatch. In declining the invitation, he criticized the group's newsletter for using the word 'queer' and for what he misperceived as the group's top priority - repeal of the sodomy laws." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994)

1994: Hatch Accused Minnesota Lesbian/Gay DFL Caucus Of "Pandering." "After the caucus endorsed John Marty, Hatch falsely accused the group of political 'pandering' by sending a letter opposing his candidacy to party activists. 'It's hard to keep focused with the increasing demands of pressure groups who hold candidates hostage to their particular interests,' Hatch said in a Feb. 2 letter to the gay caucus." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994)

1994: Star Tribune Editorial Criticized Hatch's "Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue." "Gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch can't have it both ways. On one hand Hatch is sending critical, even strident, messages to gays, lesbians and their supporters. On the other hand, Hatch says he wants to be their friend. he flip-flop might be understandable if Hatch's chief motivation for harsh criticism of a gay political group was to foster greater unity within the DFL Party. However, his verbal and written lashings seem to have no more noble purpose than inciting Minnesotans who dislike gays and lesbians to support his candidacy. In manipulating gay rights supporters, Hatch's zeal to capture the moderate-to-conservative political ground of the DFL Party reveals a weakness that may in the end cost him dearly." (Editorial, "Hatch's Zeal - Double-Edged Rhetoric On The Gay Issue," Star Tribune, March 14, 1994 )


Hatch responds to the editorial, but his response leaves much to be desired. He has a big problem with gays having a lobbying presence, but doesn't speak up to Union special interests or education special interests.

This reminds me of Norm Coleman's grandstanding efforts to pick fights with gays by refusing to sign gay pride proclamations.

More Attacks on Brad Finstad

His local constitutents are not happy. Here's another letter to the editor from the New Ulm Journal.

TO THE EDITOR: We are being blasted with many political ads on the radio, TV, newspaper and political advertisements in the mail. They all make it sound like they have done everything good for the voters or maybe what they intend to do for us. Most of it is trying to make us believe their opponents are not in the real world and they really don’t have good solutions to the issues at hand. The problem is that all attackers really don’t have any good solutions to the problems or issues either so they just keep attacking or smearing their opponent.

I am wondering where the good common sense that is talked about really went. I still can’t believe that the representative of District 21B would spend most of the 2006 session on stadiums for millionaire ballplayers and multimillionaire owners and ignore some of the agriculture and health care issues that were on the agenda. Property tax reform and the dairy tax credit investment bill. The real problem is that the Hennepin County residents didn’t get a chance to vote on the stadium bill which don’t make for a very good common sense decision by rushing the bill through without giving the residents a chance to vote on their tax dollars. Not much common sense was used here.

I have contacted Rep. Brad Finstad’s office several times when in session about agriculture issues and about the large difference in the price of a cancer shot that I am taking. Being he is the vice chairman of the Health and Human Services committee I thought that he would like to know what is happening to health costs. I received the 4-month cancer shot at one clinic at a cost of $1,200 and 25 miles away at a a cost of $9,535. Highway robbery in broad daylight. This is why the health insurance premiums keep going up every year. Rep. Finstad has never returned a call to me about this important issue. I really wonder if he cares what is going on in the health field even if he is on the Health and Human Services Committee. Common sense tells me he really don’t care.

I think we need a representative that works for the voters of District 21B and not for Hennepin County and millionaire ballplayers and multi-millionaire owners. We need to vote for Bob Skillings on Nov. 7 who will represent the voters of District 21B. Let us get back to the common good and general welfare of all the people and liberty and justice for all.

ALPHONSE A. MATHIOWETZ

Comfrey


I'm sorry to read that Mr. Mathiowetz is battling cancer, and that his elected representative couldn't trouble himself to respond to a life-or-death question from a constituent.

Let's hope a majority of voters in 21B figure out what Finstad is really about.

Klobuchar and Kennedy on 'Meet the Press'

It was a good show. Tim Russert's staff did a great job on research.

And the best part - a national audience got to see first hand what Minnesota has known for a long time. Mark Kennedy is a sniveling weasel of a politician. His fumbling around on congressional pork, the deficit, the transportation bill, Iraq, and his loyalty to the White House were hilarious.

Amy Klobuchar didn't have to say that much - Mr. Russert beat Kennedy to a pulp, over and over again.