counter statistics

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Musgrave Problem

The Coloradan:

4th CD seat at risk
Ron Klein

The Republican Party apparently has decided it is going to forfeit its long hold on the 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

What else can be concluded by their "gathering around Marilyn Musgrave" so there is no Republican primary in 2008?

I am astonished at the state of denial my party is in regarding what can only be described as the "Musgrave problem."

Musgrave is a horrible example of a "representative." Since her first election, she has alienated an unbelievably large number of her constituents - supporters and opponents alike. The numerous actions of an arrogant, disrespectful, condescending and blatantly unresponsive nature by Musgrave and her various staff members are too numerous to mention here. They have been consistently this way since her election in 2002. Any and all recent claims of change are simply a public relations stunt and not factual.

It is time the Republican Party finally admits that Musgrave is not deserving of their support. It is time for a real leader to step forward. If that doesn't happen, the Republicans can kiss goodbye their long control of this office.

There are many like myself. I volunteered my time, donated money to her first campaign and did all I could to help her win. I'll never make that mistake again. I haven't voted for her since and will absolutely never again vote for her - or anyone who supports her.

Wake up Republicans, or you will lose this seat!

Ron Klein,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

While Bridges Rotted, Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie Voted for Transportation Boondoggle

The Taxpayers League has a new page on their website called "Test Your Minnesota Transportation I.Q."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Question six asks "How much money has been diverted from transportation funding to spend on bike and walking trails?"

The implication of that question is that biking and walking paths are a frivolous waste of the taxpayers' money.

But, the Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie was a big supporter of throwing taxpayers' dollars at a controversial concept called Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) when he was a legislator.

PRT is described by Dr. Vukan R. Vuchic, an internationally acclaimed transportation professor at the University of Pennsylvania as "imaginary" and "infeasible". PRT is not recognized as a feasible mode by the Federal Government and would therefore not receive funding from the Federal Government.

Krinkie confirmed his support for PRT to Eva and I at the 6th District Convention in 2006.

When Krinkie authored HF 2991, he voted to remove funding for Northstar , but kept Mark Olson's PRT bill in his bill which would have authorized a grant for $4 million dollars for a PRT test track. The bill also authorized a measly $31.118 million for local bridge replacement and rehabilitation.

Phil Krinkie also voted for Rep. Mark Olson's PRT amendments in 2005 and in 2006.

Pam Spaulding featured my video showing an April 19th Hearing of the Transportation Finance Committee on PRT on Americablog and Pam's House Blend. The video features Rep. Mark Olson, Dean Zimmermann, and Rep. Bruce Anderson speaking in favor of Olson's PRT legislation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rep. Colin Peterson (D, MN07) Makes the CREW Nepotism List

Check it out. Peterson is the only member in Minnesota who has made this list of politicians who put their family members on their payroll.

I'll try to call Colin Peterson for comment on this one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Norm Coleman's Other Tightrope

The Star Tribune reports on Norm Coleman's tightrope - trying to appear independent, while taking advantage of President Bush's fundraising ability. The question is whether President Bush will be an issue in next year's campaign. The democrats want to make the Senate race a referendum on Bush, and the Republicans are saying that next year. Matt Drake the Republican Party spokesman told the Star Tribune: "We're entering into a post-Bush world whether the Democrats like it or not."

Norm Coleman's problem is figuring out how to keep his base engaged, and also reach out to independent voters. Part of this is accomplished by going on talk radio shows - such as Hugh Hewitt, or the Northern Alliance Radio Network - and say one thing, while going on MPR and pitching things differently.

The losing Republican party chair candidate, Joe Repya has told me he is considering challenging Coleman for the Republican party endorsement. I think this action by Repya has hurt him with party faithful. Repya will make his final decision sometime in October.

Blogger PZ Myers Sued for Libel

PZ Myers who writes the Pharyngula blog, has the 3rd largest Minnesota blog (behind Captain's Quarters and Powerline). He is now getting sued for writing two negative reviews of a book that he was asked to review. Now the author of the book is suing him for $15 million.

From Panda's Thumb:

Anyway, besides liberally reinterpreting Gould’s entire scientific opus, Pivar’s other personal involvement with evolutionary matters at the time was that he had published a well-illustrated tome called Lifecode, in which he apparently proposed some sort of structuralist/developmental interpretation of evolution. In a rather incautious move, Pivar decided to send his book to a real developmental biologist for review: PZ Myers. PZ read it, soundly criticized it at Pharyngula, and apparently never thought of it again until earlier this year, when Pivar sent out some grandiose-sounding press release together with an updated version of the book, both of which PZ once again trashed.

That was enough for Pivar to take his legal gloves off (or put them on, whatever), and hit PZ and Seed with a court complaint, that you can read in its entirety here. In it, Pivar claims that PZ maliciously called him “a classic crackpot”, with the intent of “holding [Pivar] up to ridicule and embarrassment in this specific area of [Pivar’s] professional endeavors”. The claim also states that this has caused Pivar “considerable mental and emotional distress” as well as financial damages, reparations for which, according to the complaint, should amount to the comically overinflated total reported above.

The suit has been discussed on several web sites already, including Scientific American, the Lippard Blog, Overlawyered and PT contributor Timothy Sandefur’s personal blog Positive Liberty. The consensus seems to be that the suit has no legs, but of course if this is a nuisance suit, ultimate success in front of a judge is not the goal. We’ll see what the courts will make of this, and hopefully it won’t be too bad of a hassle for PZ before the matter is resolved.

Wired Science:

Maybe if Myers hadn't included a long, technical evaluation to the balloon animal snark, Pivars might -- theoretically -- have had a very outside shot at a case. But in that post and elsewhere, Myers gets into the scientific flaws of Pivar's theories. What he says falls well short of the American definition of libel, which requires that a claim be false.The meat of Myers' criticisms are quite substantial.

Pivar's case is clearly empty. And given his wealth, he can undoubtedly afford better legal advice. So what's the deal? I'm guessing that it's just a PR stunt. What better way to sell your book than get the blogosphere boiling, in the hope that the lawsuit becomes a full-blown -- and wholly undeserved -- controversy?

And here I am, covering it. Damn the system.

Update: Scientific American's Christopher Mims just wrote to say, "What if PZ didn't work for Seed? If people start going after individual bloggers without the resources to defend themselves, that would have a chilling effect on the whole field." He's right. And it's a scary thought.

Overlawyered comments on the suit.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The HRC/LOGO Gay Presidential Debate

The Daily Show really nails Melissa Etheridge's efforts to make this debate all about her.

New Hampshire Public Radio Interviewed Joe Salmonese from the Human Rights Campaign and Patrick Sammon from Log Cabin Republicans about the Logo/HRC debate.

Audio here.

Dale Carpenter has his take on the debate:

Bill Richardson. On substance, Richardson shined. Especially impressive was his emphasis on actual accomplishments over rhetoric. After the Clinton presidency, many of us are unimpressed by promises; we want results. When it comes to actual accomplishments, Richardson has done more for gay equality than the other Democrats.

I wasn't troubled by Richardson’s suggestion that homosexuality is a choice since it seemed that, in context, he was trying to say only that people should be free to be gay. He was also correct, by the way, that we really don’t know what causes someone to have a particular sexual orientation. For this bit of honesty, he was flayed by pundits. He did seem tired and listless, so he lost badly in the eyes of those who demand flash and charm.

There was a huge ruckus over Richardson's statement about whether homosexuality is a choice. The science is not clear on this topic, and Richardson was simply pointing that out.

His comments on Hillary Clinton:

Clinton was the cleverest of the lot. She both defended and distanced herself from her husband’s two signature anti-gay acts, DADT and DOMA. She painted DADT as an improvement on what came before, which it was not. She was correct that DOMA helped stave off a federal constitutional amendment in 2004, but that was not the rationale when it passed in 1996. These answers were dishonest.

Carpenter concludes:

All of the Democrats are better on gay issues than any of the Republicans. But we have many times seen these paper commitments decompose in the slightest heat. This presidential forum left us little reason to believe it will be any different this time.

He also comments on Obama and Edwards. His thoughtful review is well worth reading.


Laurel and Thistle Wrestling

I've uploaded more of my kitten videos. My two kittens, Laurel and Thistle just love to wrestle. In fact, they are chasing each other and wrestling as I'm writing this.

Here's a very popular video of younger kittens taking their first steps: