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Saturday, April 28, 2007

And I thought the DFL was Labor's Friend

St Paul Pioneer Press:

The controversy over the Minnesota attorney general's office boiled over on Friday with more fallout from the recent exodus of more than 30 employees, including top deputies.

At a Capitol news conference, the union trying to organize lawyers in the attorney general's office called on Attorney General Lori Swanson to keep promises a union leader said she made when the union endorsed her in October.

By Friday evening, the House had voted 129-0 to ask the Rules Committee to investigate whether Swanson used union-busting tactics to stop organizing efforts in her office, or improperly fired assistant attorneys general. The union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, is the largest public union in the state, representing some 55,000 workers.

Meanwhile, in interviews, several former top lawyers from the office linked the wave of departures to Swanson's decision to put former Attorney General Mike Hatch back on the office payroll.

AFSCME executive director Eliot Seide told reporters Friday at the Capitol that organizing efforts in the attorney general's office began after several former assistant attorneys general approached the union about an office atmosphere of intimidation and harassment.

The union has accused Swanson of abruptly firing Assistant Attorney General Kari Jo Ferguson last week for collecting union membership cards.

"They have shared their stories about political patronage, fear, intimidation and
humiliating working conditions," Seide said of attorneys in the office. "Now is the time for Lori Swanson to confer about working conditions. And there's nothing stopping her in asking worker-friendly legislators to change the statute, the Public Employees Relations Act."

Seide demanded that Swanson recognize the union for the purpose of meeting with the lawyers to talk about working conditions and to press for legislation to allow the union to negotiate contracts on behalf of the attorneys.

"We expect nothing less from a candidate who carries our endorsement,'' Seide said.

Those work conditions include a pattern of micromanagement as well as abrupt and unpredictable reassignments, dismissals and outright firings, the union alleged.

The union hasn't been able to meet with Swanson about the problems, Seide said.

In a prepared statement Friday, Swanson didn't address the underlying issue of working conditions. She suggested that AFSCME was bullying her into designating the union to represent her employees because of its prior endorsement.

"As the state's chief legal officer, I cannot ignore the law, a union endorsement notwithstanding," Swanson said in the statement, adding that it was up to employees whether they wanted a union.

Swanson's office Friday vigorously defended her decision to hire Hatch.

Spokesman Brian Bergson said Swanson "is grateful that a lawyer of Hatch's experience and talent - who could make a lot more money outside of government - is instead serving the citizens of Minnesota and the cause of justice."

He denied that Hatch had any undue influence, and he said Hatch is busy heading up the office's complex litigation unit, he said.

I can't understand why Lori Swanson hired Hatch.

Norm Coleman Speaks to the 6th District Republicans

Avidor and I went to the circus. We were not allowed to video tape speeches in the convention room. This is from my notes of what Norm Coleman said during his speech. Coleman was effusive in his praise for Michele Bachmann: "Thank you, thank you for bringing Michele Bachmann to the nation's capitol. She's got the drive to represent the 6th district." He went on to say that the Republican party is the party of "limited government and unlimited opportunity."
He mentions "hatemongers" on the left and "Rosie OConnel" [sic].

Following up after Norm Coleman's speech, party chair Ron Carey gushed about Michele Bachmann: "She will be able to make a real difference" and be able "to get things done" in Washington.

"GOP Joe" Repya gave a very negative speech that attacked Ron Carey - but not by name.

Brad Biers won the vice chairs race - 44 votes to 39 votes (Aplikowski) to 34 votes (Nygard).

Turnout was low for a 6th district event - 87 delegates and 32 alternates for a total of 119.

Avidor has some video of the goings on outside the convention.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pam's House Blend Commenter on John Edwards

This from a liberal blog commenter:

My Confession
I must admit it- here goes: It actually DOES stick in my craw that John Edwards spent $400 on two occasions for a haircut and charged it to his campaign (he has since reimbursed it). Yes, I am fully aware that there are more pressing issues, and the War on Iraq is the biggest issue of our time, at least of MY time. But I must confess that yes, I have to wonder what kind of person Edwards is to have this thing about his hair, relentlessly primping it (I've seen it when he was caught unaware), and heaping money upon it. Yes, dammit, I admit it- I wonder what kind of dingbat he is and what galaxy his brain is on because of those $400 haircuts, and it makes me question his character and his priorities and his fundamental tenets of what life is about, because of his damn hair.

Since I'm in the confessional, I'll go a step further. It did occur to me that Coulter was right about him. His poofter status, I mean.

Yes, I'm a terrible person. A beast!
by: Chadster @ Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 20:12:34 PM EDT

Keith Ellison Needs to Find Something Better to Do

Drama Queen....

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dennis Kucinich hasn't yet won any co-sponsors for articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney that he plans to introduce Tuesday, but said he encourages other congressional members to read the charges.

'This is something that members have to consider before they sign on,' Kucinich, a 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, told FOX News.

The Ohio congressman has generated interest from at least one potential supporter. Freshman Rep. Keith Ellison confirmed that he will consider joining Kucinich’s effort, however, said he would not sign on to anything until he hears the charges against Cheney.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Best Liberal and Conservative Blogs

City Pages couldn't have chosen a better blog. I've always like Spot's blog. The recognition was richly deserved. Faith Mouse got the Best Conservative blog award. Bonnie Bleskachek got the "Best Local Girl Gone Bad" award.

Several years ago John Hinderaker of Powerline got the City Pages Best Meltdown award.

Pioneer Press Follows St Cloud Times Example

They now allow commenting on stories. When will the Strib do that? Eric Black's blog: the Big Question - is excellent for that - but it would be nice to directly comment on stories in the strib.

Brodkorb Gets Strib To Correct a Story

Check it out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Upcoming Freakshow at the State Capitol

Aplikowski has the poster on his website. This is the theocrats day on the hill - sponsored by the usual suspects: Edwatch and the Minnesota Family Council. It should be entertaining.

GOP Party Chair Race Getting Nasty

Andy Aplikowski at Residual Forces puts out regular attack pieces on Ron Carey, the incumbent chair.

Repya's High Road to Victory

I think he's probably referring to the MN Autism Story that ran today in the Strib and was the topic of a large portion of the Bob Davis show on AM1500 this morning.

Davis's podcasts are here. I believe this would be Friday's show. There were two articles in the Strib on this topic.

Most interesting:

One of the board members who brought the lawsuit against Carey is fellow Republican Tim Wilkin, a former assistant House majority leader. He was defeated in November, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed him in January as assistant commissioner of operations at DHS.

Wilkin couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Aplikowski gets nastygrams from Carey's staff.

MN Publius publishes Carey's email defending himself about the allegations in the stories in the Strib.

Aplikowski picks it up and attacks Carey.

Triple A keeps it going with several posts about the Carey Autism Center mess and reliving the loss in 2006.

Comments over at Residual Forces are quite lively. Both Carey supporters and detractors are commenting. I found this one telling:

# Jesse Says:
April 23rd, 2007 at 1:32 pm

So Repya supporters now need to get behind Carey just because he is part of an investigation? Something tells me the Carey supporters didn’t run to back up Eibensteiner when he had baseless charges thrown at him.

I don’t think this should be the one and only thing that people decide the MN GOP chair on, but I think it would be short sighted to not have a discussion on the subject and at least consider it when choosing the next chair. Especially since we already see the party getting pulled into this with stories about it in the paper and MN GOP officials responding to reporter questions on the subject.

In the end, I think you need to take a look at Carey’s record as chair as a whole (including this story…) and see if you are happy with that (BTW, didn’t we dump the last chair because he lost 11 or 12 seats?).

I wonder how Ron Eibensteiner feels about how history appears to be repeating itself.

Monday, April 23, 2007


What is Al Franken talking about?

"When Paul Welstone voted against this war Coleman said 'he didn't question Paul's patriotism, he questioned his judgement,' said Franken. 'Well, whose judgement was right Norm? That's like saying 'I don't question your hetorsexuality (sic), I question that suit you're wearing.' We need to hold Norm Coleman accountable.'"

Source: Granite Falls Advocate Tribune, April 22, 2007

Hat Tip: Michael Brodkorb.

Upcoming Circus

From the Minnesota GOP Website:

EVENT: Sixth Congressional District Convention
WHEN: Apr 28 9:00 AM
WHERE: National Sports Center
1700 105th Ave NE
Blaine MN 55449
CONTACT: Danny Nygaard (763) 263-1707

Andy Aplikowski, Dan Nygaard and Brad Biers are all running for the 6th District Vice Chair position.

UPDATE: MN Publius and Andy Aplikowsi tag team.

Coleman to Speak at Humphrey Institute

Scheduled Forums*:

*Senator Norm Coleman*
Monday, May 14, 2007
10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Cowles Auditorium
Humphrey Center
301 19th Ave S., Minneapolis

/*light refreshments served after event/

*Congressman Jim Ramstad*
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Noon - 1:30pm

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance is hosting a series of public talks by prominent government leaders as part of our ongoing commitment to fostering informed and substantive discussion on important matters of public policy. Connecting with Government will allow Minnesota’s elected officials the opportunity to rise above the talking points and fractious back-and-forth of the legislative process to make substantive statements about issues of importance for Minnesotans. It
also creates a forum for students and citizens to listen and raise questions with their elected officials.

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance works to develop practical solutions to pressing political and policy challenges. CSPG provides non-partisan research and forums to foster more effective and efficient governance, increase the transparency of government processes, and rebuild public trust in order to counteract negative influences that threaten our democracy.

These events are free and open to the public. To request disability accommodations, please call 612-625-2530 or email

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Debates Over HIV Prevention at the Minnesota Legislature

Rep. Tom Emmer, (R, Delano) tried to amend the HHS finance bill to cut funds for ENABL. Emmer passed out copies explicit content from a Minnesota AIDS Project website (a part of the website that was targeted to adults, and was not state funded). You can watch the debate here. The literature and/or website in question evidently involved information on fisting. Representative Erhardt puts Rep. Emmer in his place at 10:24:30.

Rep. Mark Olson rants and raves after the Emmer amendment discussion.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Outfront Rally at the Capitol

Andy Birkey has some good coverage over at Minnesota Monitor. I wonder if they asked Paul Koering to speak. Koering has really stuck his neck out on this issue.