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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Carol Molnau's Calendar Curiously Blank

This is rather strange for someone at her level to have such an empty calendar. Lower level employees have less meetings, but a Commissioner would have regular meetings that should show up in a calendaring system.

Strib:


Applause filled the air recently as state Transportation Commissioner Carol Molnau spoke at the opening of a new segment of Hwy. 212 in Chanhassen.

"This means a lot to me," she said, nodding toward the just-finished highway.

Then Molnau and other dignitaries waved small green flags. A state snowplow crashed through a banner stretched across the roadway.

The moment was typical of the ribbon cuttings, construction announcements and small-town speaking engagements that Molnau has regularly shown up for since the Aug. 1 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge.

A Star Tribune review of Molnau's daily work calendar for the three months after the disaster shows that she was more likely to be found at events such as the road-dedication ceremony than at congressional hearings and legislative meetings on the collapse.


Molnau won't talk to the Strib. She will however, talk with Jason Lewis.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jason DeRusha's Wrapup of Stanek-Gate

On his blog here. He's got links to emails from Minneapolis City Officials discussing the Stanek video and a very interesting interview with Don Shelby that gives Shelby's perspective on all of this.

Don Shelby did not write the script - the Sheriff's Office wrote the script. Don Shelby saw the script 5 minutes before he ran with the script.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jim Ramstad Probably Deciding to Retire from Retirement

UPDATE: Strib gets Erik Paulsen on record:

A protégé's embrace

A decision to renege on his retirement could have serious implications for next year's Third District election. State Rep. Erik Paulsen, the main Republican contender, has been raising money and campaigning, assuming the seat would be open.

Said Paulsen: "I would not even be running for Congress if it weren't for the fact that my friend and mentor and former boss had announced his retirement. I'm assuming he's going to retire. He's told me to move ahead and move ahead strong."

But if Ramstad does run again, Paulsen said, he would bow out.

"If he does run again, I will be the first person to wholly support and embrace him, in a nanosecond."


Original post:

I've heard that should he do so, Eric Paulsen will step out of the race. Sean at MN Publius has egg on his face for suggesting that should Ramstad get back in the race, Bonoff and Hovland would drop out.

If the Rammer comes back he’s gonna win. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if Jim Ramstad rejoins the race Jim Hovland and Terri Bonoff will probably drop out of the race on the Democrat side.

I’m curious what his un-retirement would mean for all of the right wing nut jobs who cheered when he announced his retirement?

[update:] I was speculating wildly up there when I said I figured JHova and and Sen. Bonoff would probably drop out of th race if Jim Ramstad reentered the race. (Hey, at least I admit it.) I just received an email from the Hovland’s campaign:

“Jim is still in the race whether or not Ramstad reenters the race. In fact, he’s energized by the prospect of taking Ramstad on and highlighting the differences between a Democratic and Republican approach to governance.”

I met with Jim last week and there will be a write up of our talk coming soon– but I can’t stress enough how impressed I was with Hovland’s thoughtful approach to the issues facing our country. If Jim Ramstad reentered the race any Democrat would have a very difficult uphill climb, but who knows? Hovland’s got an amazing amount of leadership and wisdom he ccould offer to the people of the 3rd.

[update 2:] From the ‘noff.

“Regardless of what Jim Ramstad decides about his political future, I remain certain about mine: my campaign to bring a new voice to the Congress for Minnesota’s families will continue. I look forward to a vigorous campaign to determine who will best represent Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District without regard to whom my opponent is.”

Terri Bonoff already has the best organization of any Democrat to run in the 3rd in any recent memory, she’ll be an imposing opponent for Ramstad, but I think that it will still be a very difficult uphill climb for a Democrat to beat him if he gets back in the race.


You'd think Sean would have picked up the phone and called these campaigns before shooting off about something like this.

UPDATE: Good comments on this topic at the Strib blog, McMemo.

Media Gossip: Black Moves from Minn Mon to Minn Post

Monitor statement:

I am bidding a fond and grateful farewell to the Minnesota Monitor team. After taking the rest of the year off from reporting and writing, ericblackink will become part of MinnPost.com. I would like to thank my Monitor colleagues and the Monitor's parent organization, the Center for Independent Media, for their help and support over the past six months and also the MinnMon readers for whatever time and attention you donated to my scribbling. Thanks be unto you all, and please accept my personal wishes for a great 2008.


Post statement:

Asked to comment, Black replied: "What are you talking about? I don't give quotes. I get quotes. But I am excited to become part of MinnPost's thoughtful approach to news. Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2008."


Here at Lloydletta's Nooz, we wish Eric Black the best in his new endeavors.

Welcome St Cloud Times Readers

Larry Schumacher covers the soap opera about Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota Majority and racial purity.

This story was also covered on Air America on Mark Heaney's show on Tuesday if I remember correctly. The podcast is currently not available.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Al Franken's Fundraiser

Michael Brodkorb follows up:

Saying that U.S. Senator Norm Coleman has "no balls" isn't the only shocking thing that Hollywood liberal Larry David said at a fundraiser for Al Franken at the ritzy home of liberal millionaires Sam and Sylvia Kaplan. The GLBT community might not be too happy with some of the comments made at the event.

Please check back to Minnesota Democrats Exposed later tonight (it may be after midnight) for more information.


Franken has made statements that he should explain on the record. I have talked to him about his "joke" he made about the murder of a gay man 30 years ago. Unfortunately that discussion was not video taped. I hope at some time in the future to get Al Franken to address that question on video tape.

I'd like to see the tape of this event.

The Drama Queen Is Getting the Vapors Over Nothing

The Drama Queen is hyperventilating over Larry David saying that Norm Coleman has "no balls" at an Al Franken fundraiser. Really, this is too silly for words. People say someone has “no balls” meaning someone has “no spine.” Actually neither “no balls” or “no spine” literally mean they lack body parts.

There’s legitimate stupid stuff that Franken has said, but having a cow over this sort of stuff makes the Republican party - and Norm Coleman’s campaign - look totally pathetic.

Have a Racially Pure Merry Christmas

Cheesy ominous music on this video produced by Minnesota Majority:

Rich Stanek Bears False Witness

Stanek talked to KARE and said:

"I am spoken to the commissioners that commented over the weekend in the local paper. They did not have the benefit of seeing the slide show that went with it," said Stanek.

I called Commissioner Penny Steele's office to request comment. She stands by her statements from last weekend. She was ok with the slides, but still believes the video was an inappropriate use of public funds.

You can listen to KARE's interview with Stanek here.

Possible Fallout from the Minnesota Majority "Racial Purity" Comments?

Hal Kimball points out on MN Publius comments:

Hal Dec 19th, 2007 at 9:57 am

Hmmm, why did MDE pull Drew Emmer’s blog (Wright County Republican) from it’s Minnesota Daily Reads section?


That's true. I've got screen shots

mde_no_wright_county

mde_Wright_County_Date

Wright County Republican still there as of 12/13/07 in google cache.

Here's a screen shot of Brodkorb's blog with Wright County Republican as Daily Read taken from 12/13 google cache:

Screen Shot of Brodkorb's blog with Wright County Republican as Daily Read taken from 12/13 google cache

Why did Michael Brodkorb remove the link to Drew Emmer's blog? The link was removed sometime after December 13, and before December 19 at 10 AM. The Pioneer Press story on the matter was last updated at the website on 12/14/07. Brodkorb claimed he was unaware of the Minnesota Majority Health Care paper until I commented on his blog on Sunday December 16.

Minneapolis Issues Thread on Rich Stanek Infomercial

Here.

So far one person has defended Stanek. The rest have condemned him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mark Stenglein Is An Idiot, Good for Penny Steele

Listen to him defend Rich Stanek and the video on channel 9. Penny Steele goes on camera to say how inappropriate this is.

Rich Stanek Talks to KARE - Says Video Not Available to the General Public

KARE. They've got footage from "20 Days in August".

This is definitely a campaign infomercial.

Saturday, in the Star Tribune and on KARE11, some county commissioners questioned the video's purpose.

"You know, I disagree," Stanek said Monday, in response to the concerns. "I've spoken to the commissioners that commented over the weekend in the local paper. They did not have the benefit of seeing the presentation that goes with the video. They saw snippets of it."

Stanek told KARE11 the video Is meant to set up slideshow presentations, which appear later on the DVD.

The DVD's first 26 minutes are full of praise for Stanek from his deputies, and from WCCO TV anchor Don Shelby, the narrator, who credits " the unfaltering dedication of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, commanded by sheriff Rich Stanek."

Shelby has said he wasn't paid for his performance in the video, which cost 30-thousand dollars to produce.

Stanek said it's one of his duties as sheriff to share his experiences and "to train other police officers and fire fighters in incident management, emergency management, and response to incidents like this."

Stanek said the video has been used "dozens" of times to train "thousands" of people in Minnesota and across the nation.

Hamline University law professor David Schultz, who teaches a government ethics class and was trained as an emergency responder in New York, said it appears the video had been written for a "broader consumption," and not just as a training video.

"(It is) marginally a training video," he said. "More, it's great P.R. for the sheriff's office."

Schultz said the video could be more of a concern if it is shown during an election campaign. Stanek still has three years left in his first term as sheriff.

"If this happens to be used during the next election time, when the sheriff is up for election, then it starts to cross the lines, in terms of asking, was this $30,000 spent for trying to enhance the image or the public relations of the sheriff's office?" Schultz said.

The $30,000 came from forfeiture and seizure funds - money that, Stanek said, is dedicated for training purposes and is not part of his office's operational budget.

He said the interviews for the DVD were shot the day after the last body was recovered from the collapse site.

Stanek said he was encouraged by federal officials, namely Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker to make the video.

He said 300 copies of the DVD were produced, and they are not available to the general public.


Tom Lyden on Fox 9 News reported that principals in the company that produced this video contributed to Rich Stanek's campaign. I'm still looking for a link to Lyden's story.

Update: I've found the link to Lyden's story. It's an excellent story.

MN Publius Picks Up on the Minnesota Majority Web Site Scrubbing and Mary Kiffmeyer's defense of the Racial Purity Reference

“Racially Pure” No More - “Issue Advocacy Group” Changes Its Tone After Pi Press Article" was the title of Zack's post on the matter at MN Publius.

It was not the Pioneer Press article that got Minnesota Majority to take the “racially pure” statement down. It was after I quoted the statement in a comment to Brodkorb’s blog. Brodkorb has a history of speaking out about racist statements both from the left and the right. Most recently, he publicly repudiated Tracy Eberly's infamous "Dirt Worshiping Heathens" post on Anti-Strib. He took a fair amount of heat for this from the usual suspects in the MOBosphere. He has also regularly criticized Al Franken for racist statements.

I do have a screen shot of the page prior to it being edited.

After Stassen-Berger’s column, Jeff Davis put up a defiant post whining about “media bias.”

“There is no tinge of racism in the issue paper nor does it imply any negative judgment about single-parent households. It simply states a statistical fact that helps explain some of the medical differences in between countries.”


This was posted on December 15, before the website was scrubbed to remove the “racial purity” statement. My first post on the Minnesota Majority matter, linked to the Stassen-Berger article, and the Health Care paper was at 1:06 PM on December 16. My post noting the scrubbing was at 8:06 PM. My comment to Michael Brodkorb's blog was posted at 6:24 PM.

Here’s are some more Minnesota Majority posts on Lloydletta’s Nooz.

And the Soap Opera continues..... Developing...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Minnesota Majority Does More Editing of the Racial Purity Statement

It now reads:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse population of any country in the world. Our statistics are affected by that diversity. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. Consistent genetic lineage also contributes to Sweden having a lower infant mortality rate and Japan having a longer life expectancy. These factors must be taken into account when comparing statistics around the world with U.S. statistics. (as of 10:20 PM, 12/17/07)

Last night, later in the evening:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse population of any country in the world. This fact affects statistic by which we are compared to other countries. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. This fact contributes to Sweden having a lower infant mortality rate and Japan having a longer life expectancy.


Original statement:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse racial and ethnic population of any country in the world. This fact adversely affects every statistic by which we are compared to other countries. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. It is not surprising that Sweden has a lower infant mortality rate, or that Japan has a longer life expectancy than the United States does. They are nearly racially pure: we are not.
[emphasis mine].


Scrub a Dub, Dub! I have a screen shot of the original. Also, the original statement is what Rachel Stasen-berger reported, and Mary Kiffmeyer defended. Developing...

Stanek Has Stenglein Defend the Video

On Channel 11, Stenglein defends the video as a good use of Taxpayer dollars. The reporter on this story got the party affiliations wrong for Stenglein (she said he was a republican, Stenglein claims he is "independent"). Opat was quoted being critical of the expenditure, but wasn't put on camera.

During the bridge collapse both Rich Stanek and Mark Stenglein were constantly in front of the cameras.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan Isn't Happy With Rich Stanek's Self Promotional Video

Brian Lambert from Lambert to the Slaughter obtained a copy of the following:

Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 8:20 AM
To: Rybak, R.T.; Johnson, Barbara A.; Bosacker, Steven
Subject: Stanek Video

I read Kaszuba's article today. He did not dig to get the realities of Stanek's involvement at the 35W Bridge Collapse. His theft of the credit is not going to sit well with my staff and our hard working partners. Mayor and Barb, you were at the meeting with the president - I asked for the Navy divers. I also met privately with the Gov to reinforce that issue and asked him to convince Rich to accept that offer. Forte was also involved in these discussions. Rich asked for Army Corp Engineers. I also had to caution Rich on his over estimates of missing. I would also doubt he closed the nearby bridges. Allen would know the facts there. It is sad, but the truth needs to be told.

Steven, I did not talk about the President meeting in the video. Maybe we should add that discussion.

Suggestions?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A plate of meatballs to go, please

A week from now, I'll be at my parents house for the Christmas holiday, enjoying the Swedish-themed seasonal decorations and food.

Before I turn out the lights and traipse around the house wearing a crown of candles like St. Lucia, I need to sort out what we're supposed to think about my peeps in Europe. The geniuses behind the font of knowledge known as the 'Minnesota Majority' website have me confused.

In their world, healthy babies are tied to something called 'racial purity'. They cite Sweden as an example.

Well, I certainly would acknowledge I'm a product of sturdy peasant stock, and the ancestors I know about are whiter than snow. That said, not everybody came from the same Lutheran sub-division, and we've got Danish, German, and Norwegian blood in the mix. Does that still qualify for 'racial purity'?

Sweden is known for its cradle-to-grave-nanny-state-socialist economy, including lots and lots of publicly funded health care.

Would that social program possibly have anything to do with healthy babies?

Speaking of babies.... theocrats often like to cite Sweden as an example of how to go hell in a handbasket, with all of those out of wedlock births, and homos marrying each other right and left, which somehow discourages traditional families from doing it by the book.

What are we supposed to think?

It would be nice to get some clarification on this in the next week..... do I smile and tolerate the meatballs, the rice, the red horses, the candles, etc, or do I come out as an anti-Swede activist, and purge my parents' home of reminders of the mess known as Sweden.

It's a big topic... maybe I'll go watch Garbo in 'Queen Christina' and think about it some more.

I can't Imagine Why The Strib Wouldn't Publish These

The Minnesota Majority posted some "well-written" and "original" sample letters that got submitted through their website attacking Nick Coleman's column about the Archbishop Nienstedt.

We now appear to have evidence of what most people have suspected for years. As of December 3, the Star Tribune newspaper had published just six letters in response to Nick Coleman’s attack piece on Archbishop Nienstedt (besides the Archbishop's formal response). And four of the six letters were in support of Coleman. But here's the most revealing fact exposing the newspaper's apparent bias -- NOT ONE of the over 60 letters critical of Coleman's column submitted through our website were published by the newspaper.


Editor Scott Gillespie wrote a column about these LTE campaigns.

We also received many letters on the Coleman column -- including one from the archbishop himself -- that appeared original and not part of an e-mail campaign. We published several of those, pro and con. And that's the point of this column.

If you'd like your letter published in the Star Tribune or on our website, you should know that we value original material. We receive hundreds of well-written, thoughtful letters each week, and for that we're extremely grateful. Those writers who actually read the paper or our website and take the time to compose a letter deserve more consideration than a guy in Oregon who doesn't know the difference between the Star Tribune and the Daily Planet.


Go read the Minnesota Majority letters for yourself - and put yourself in the editor's shoes. Would you publish these? Are they worth the ink?

Minnesota Majority Scrubs the "Racial Purity" Statement

The statement has been edited to read:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse population of any country in the world. This fact affects statistic by which we are compared to other countries. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. This fact contributes to Sweden having a lower infant mortality rate and Japan having a longer life expectancy.


Here's what it used to say:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse racial and ethnic population of any country in the world. This fact adversely affects every statistic by which we are compared to other countries. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. It is not surprising that Sweden has a lower infant mortality rate, or that Japan has a longer life expectancy than the United States does. They are nearly racially pure: we are not.


Former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer is on record defending the racial purity remark:

Kiffmeyer said the page dealing with health care and its mention of racial purity must be understood in context. That phrase, she said, is simply descriptive.

"That's a genetic term," said Kiffmeyer, who is a nurse by training. "It does matter when you are doing medical studies." (St Paul Pioneer Press)


The Minnesota Majority needs to do more than scrub the statement about racial purity. They need to publicly apologize for the statement. It's not going to help House Republicans, if their Health Care proposal gets associated with Minnesota Majority.

Minnesota Majority Suggests: Lack of "Racial Purity" Causes High Infant Mortality Rates

From Minnesota Majority's position paper on Health Care:

FACT: The U.S. health care system serves the most diverse racial and ethnic population of any country in the world. This fact adversely affects every statistic by which we are compared to other countries. Black women, for a variety of reasons, are more prone to underweight babies than are Caucasian and Asian women. It is not surprising that Sweden has a lower infant mortality rate, or that Japan has a longer life expectancy than the United States does. They are nearly racially pure: we are not.

FACT: There is a direct correlation between two parent, marriage-based families and lower infant mortality rates. We need to do everything we can do to maintain traditional marriage.


Davis claimed that Stassen-Burger misprepresented the organizations position:

There is no tinge of racism in the issue paper nor does it imply any negative judgment about single-parent households. It simply states a statistical fact that helps explain some of the medical differences in between countries.


The actual words from the paper rebut Davis's defensive post.

From Stassen-Burger's article:

Kiffmeyer said the page dealing with health care and its mention of racial purity must be understood in context. That phrase, she said, is simply descriptive.

"That's a genetic term," said Kiffmeyer, who is a nurse by training. "It does matter when you are doing medical studies."

Drew Emmer, the communications director for the organization, said Kiffmeyer is the organization's executive director and Jeff Davis, who has been active in pushing for a Minnesota anti-gay marriage amendment, is the president.


Davis has a blog post howling about the article taking the "racial purity" comment out of context, and for pointing out his history pushing for an "anti-gay marriage amendment."

Davis huffs: "Jeff Davis has never used the terminology 'anti-gay marriage amendment'. It is a term made-up by Left-wing media types to try to put the proposed legislation in a negative light."

Davis's "traditional marriage" focus has been on keeping gays from participating in the institution of marriage. His rhetoric on this issue has been much more harsh than the more moderate Minnesota Family Council. His radio ads going after rural area state senators were over the top. Here's his website where he promotes the Bachmann amendment. It's all about the homos. It's also all about the homos on Minnesota Majority. They have an issues statement on "homosexual marriage."

Des Moines Register Endorses McCain, Clinton

Here's the editorial re: the Republican choice.


Republican endorsement editorial: Why McCain

THE REGISTER'S EDITORIAL BOARD

The leading candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president present an intriguing mix of priorities, personalities and life stories.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani inspired the city and nation with his confident leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister from Arkansas, charms with homespun humor. Mitt Romney, the multimillionaire investment adviser from Massachusetts, exudes
executive discipline. As governors, both worked across the party divide to improve education and health care in their states.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee brings an actor’s ease to his no-nonsense calls for a return to fiscal discipline.

Yet, for all their accomplishments on smaller stages, none can offer the tested leadership, in matters foreign and domestic, of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. McCain is most ready to lead America in a complex and dangerous world and to rebuild trust at home and abroad by inspiring confidence in his leadership.

In an era of instant celebrity, we sometimes forget the real heroes in our midst. The defining chapter of McCain’s life came 40 years ago as a naval aviator, when he was shot down over Vietnam. The crash broke both arms and a leg. When first seeing him, a fellow prisoner recalls thinking he wouldn’t live the night. He was beaten and kept in solitary confinement, held 5 years. He could have talked. He did not. Son of a prominent Navy admiral, he could have gained early release. He refused.

The one-time playboy emerged from prison a changed, more serious man. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and the Senate in 1986, he has built an unconventional political career by taking stands based on principle, not party dogma, and frequently pursuing bipartisanship.

His first term was touched by scandal when the Senate rebuked him for meeting with savings-and-loan regulators on behalf of campaign donor Charles Keating Jr., who was later imprisoned. That ordeal steered him into championing government transparency and battling alongside Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold for the campaign-finance-reform bill that bears their names.

Time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the face of opposition from other elected leaders and the public. He has criticized crop and ethanol subsidies during two presidential campaigns in Iowa. He bucked his party and president by opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. A year ago, in the face of growing criticism, he staunchly supported President Bush’s decision to increase troop strength in Iraq.

In this campaign, he continues to support comprehensive immigration reform — while watching his poll standings plunge. Some other Republican candidates refuse to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat caused by human activity. McCain has worked on the issue for seven years and sponsored bills to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

McCain would enter the White House with deep knowledge of national-security and foreign-policy issues. He knows war, something we believe would make him reluctant to start one. He’s also a fierce defender of civil liberties. As a survivor of torture, he has stood resolutely against it. He pledges to start rebuilding America’s image abroad by closing the Guantanamo prison and beginning judicial proceedings for detainees.

McCain has his flaws, too, of course. He can be hot-tempered, a trait that’s not helpful in conducting diplomacy. At 71, his age is a concern. The editorial board disagrees with him on a host of issues, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. McCain foresees a “long, hard and difficult” deployment of troops in Iraq. The Register’s board has called for withdrawal as soon as it’s safely possible.

But with McCain, Americans would know what they’re getting. He doesn’t parse words. And on tough calls, he usually lands on the side of goodness — of compassion for illegal immigrants, of concern for the environment for future generations.

The force of John McCain’s moral authority could go a long way toward restoring Americans’ trust in government and inspiring new generations to believe in the goodness and greatness of America.

You can read it for yourself here.

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=Opinion

It will be interesting to see the actual results, as the most recent poll numbers don't favor either of these candidates in the Iowa caucuses.