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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Kennedy Pushing for ENDA Vote in 2008

Washington Blade:

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is expected to push for a Senate vote in 2008 on the same gay-only version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that the House of Representatives passed in 2007, a Kennedy spokesperson said this week.

Kennedy stated on the Senate floor on Nov. 8, one day after the House passed ENDA by a vote of 235 to 184, that he hoped the Senate would follow suit by passing the employment protection bill in the current Congress, which lasts through 2008.

But until this week, Kennedy’s office had not stated publicly where Kennedy stood on the demands by many gay and transgender organizations that Congress should withhold any action on ENDA unless it includes protection for transgender persons.

“Although Sen. Kennedy strongly supports protections against job discrimination for transgender workers, inaction won’t advance justice for anyone, and will just make it harder to pass any version of ENDA in 2009,” said Kennedy spokesperson Melissa Wagoner.

“We will most likely work to move the House-passed bill, rather than introducing a separate Senate bill,” Wagoner told the Blade by e-mail. “Because the same legislation must pass both the House and Senate, now that the House has acted, the only realistic way to get a bill to the president’s desk this Congress is to have the Senate pass the House bill.”

Asked if Kennedy thought ENDA could pass the Senate in an election year, Wagoner said, “Yes, if enough Republicans support the bill to give us a realistic chance of breaking a filibuster.”

Most political observers have predicted Republican senators opposing ENDA will stage a filibuster against the legislation, which requires 60 votes to break through a parliamentary move known as cloture. Kennedy and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who has joined Kennedy as a chief sponsor of ENDA, have said they were hopeful they could line up a bipartisan “super majority” of at least 60 senators to ensure the bill’s passage.

Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said this week that Reid strongly supports ENDA and favors holding a Senate vote on the measure in 2008. Manley said Reid would defer to Kennedy on the “strategy and timing” of such a vote.

Some transgender activists aren't happy. We'll see if OutFront Minnesota and United ENDA puts out alerts to oppose this bill the way they did for the house bill.

The New Hampshire debates

I didn't see the entire Republican debate on ABC, as I took a phone call when it was about half over. I did listen to 95% of the Democrat cage match.

My impression is that Mitt Romney is dripping in flop-sweat right now. If he doesn't score on Tuesday, he might be done. I sensed some panic when I listened to him talk tonight.

Ron Paul is an interesting guy... I wonder why he doesn't break off and run as an independent, given the combination of his fundraising success and having no hope of getting the Republican nomination. I happen to agree with some of his small-government theories, but on some topics he's batty. I think it's good that his point of view is being heard during this election cycle, but he has no prayer of winning. If he ran as an independent, he could stay in the race longer.

Fred Thompson did well, which is always a surprise. The Huckster quoted from the Declaration of Independence, a favorite script for the Theocrats.

As for the Democrats... most of the time, they didn't answer the question that was asked, and the moderators didn't hammer them for it. I was particularly disappointed when a very good question about the cost of entitlements (current plus promised) was raised, and we didn't learn a thing.

I think I now have a better understanding of John Edwards. His self-righteous rants about corporate greed and the power of the lobbyists made a little more sense tonight, when I listened to the entire spiel, vs. a 30 second sound byte. That said, I wonder if he takes PAC money from labor unions....

The moderator from the local TV station asked very good questions of all the candidates. It's too bad nobody answered him.

Let the Education Begin....

The comments of the disgruntled spouse of an also-ran compel me to respond:

From Eva's post about Emily (Mrs. Glenn) Gruenhagen:

All in all, I agree with Drew; we were outflanked and outsmarted and we need to learn our lessons or we will continue to be in the minority. We also need to run real platform Republicans and hold our legislators accountable. This idea that a candidate needs to “fit the district” is hogwash. Real leaders stand on principle. They are persuasive and know how to bring others on board by educating them in the principloes (sic) that made our nation great.

Let's start with the idea of a candidate fitting or not fitting the district being 'hogwash'. Welcome to the land of people who don't win elections, Mrs. Gruenhagen.

I disagree with her suggestion that the reason principled/platform Republicans aren't endorsed and elected is due to a a lack of education. At the national and state level, we've had a belly full of education on these noble principles supported by the Minnesota Family Council and the Taxpayer's League. The general public fully understands their story, and consistently rejects these hard-line positions.

Go ahead - harden your conservative positions. Make the Republican party smaller, not larger. Keep losing elections.

Glenn Gruenhagen's Wife Comments on the SD 25 Race

From the Man Not in the Arena Awards post on the Drama Queen's site.

# Emily Says:
January 5th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

To Mberg:
These are the facts about the endorsement. Seven days before the endorsement convention held on Dec. 5th I got a phone call from a conservative friend that there was an open seat in SD25.

Since I am BPOU chairwoman for one of the 4 counties in this district this friend asked if I knew anyone who would be a good candidate (I was not notified by the state party until they contacted me for my Sibley County delegate lists 6 days before the convention). This friend told me that Ray Cox had already formed a committee and had announced his plan to run. I found this odd since it had just been announced on the radio the night before that Tom Neuville had been appointed to a judicial seat. Cox obviously had already been notified well in advance that this was to happen. It appeared he was the “annointed” candidate, for what ever reason. Maybe it was his name recognition or location (since he lives in Northfield), but at any rate there was not any real delegate input nor was there much time for anyone else to challenge him.

With the urging of a few conservative friends and leaders in the party, my husband Glenn Gruenhagen, decided to consider challenging Ray. We spent a couple of days researching his voting record and the more we studied it the more concerned we became. Ray has a career record with the LEA of about 33%, Taxpayers League at 26%, Minnesota Family Council at 50%. He clearly does not support many important planks in the Republican platform and Glenn felt compelled to hold him accountable by challenging him.

The day before the endorsement we officially decided to go for it. We knew we were at a disadvantage because we live in the least populated North West portion of the district but also knew we could not allow Ray to go unchallenged. This did not give us much time to contact delegates and in addition, the delegate lists that I got from the state party did not include phone numbers for the delegates.

In the end Glenn got 15 of the 47 delegate votes and we felt it was worth it to raise our concerns and give the delegates a choice.

Keep in mind that this all took place over the busy holidays and we run our own business. It was difficult to find time or energy to help out with the Cox campaign. It is even more difficult to do so when you feel less-than-excited about the candidate. I have tried to express this to Chairman Carey and other party leaders in the past. We need good platform candidates to run in order to really energize volunteers to work. Nevertheless, Glenn and I made lots of phone calls and put up signs for Ray (for both the primary and the election). I also went door to door on the day of the election trying to get folks to the polls.

All in all, I agree with Drew; we were outflanked and outsmarted and we need to learn our lessons or we will continue to be in the minority. We also need to run real platform Republicans and hold our legislators accountable. This idea that a candidate needs to “fit the district” is hogwash. Real leaders stand on principle. They are persuasive and know how to bring others on board by educating them in the principloes that made our nation great.

The one time I saw Gruenhagen was when Michele Bachmann spoke in Hutchinson. Gruenhagen asked Bachmann a question about "gay bowel syndrome" in that public forum.

Slug Fest on the NARN Show

Mitch Berg and Drew Emmer the winner's of the MDE "Man Not in the Arena" awards are guests on Brodkorb's show today.

Some interesting highlights:

Mitch Berg whined about unfair process in CD 4. Rory Koch, the district chair called in to call Berg on the carpet. Koch pointed out that Berg hadn't been at meetings, nor volunteering with efforts.

Berg also claimed that the liberal foot soldiers are all paid - and the conservatives volunteer, and the conservatives are demoralized and need some more reasons to volunteer. This is patent nonsense. Berg was bragged about his efforts to fight the good fight in St Paul. If that means his participation in the St Paul Issues forum, where his bullying behavior is turning off other participants, it doesn't say much for spreading a positive impression about conservative ideas. Rich Mons, forum manager writes:

Both Tim [Erickson] and I have reported that as moderators we've had folks tell us they're leaving the forum because of the tone. I understand that those reports are inconvenient to the way Mitch would like to comport himself but I resent the implication that they're manufactured reports which Mitch does imply when he writes "there is *supposedly* a legion of people in St Paul who get scared off."

Others have reported that would-be subscribers have been dissuaded from joining as well ... Joe Nathan most recently. We had a high school class withdraw from its planned participation because of the tone. Grace Kelly reported that at least one individual who she had recruited for a special topic decided not to participate due to the tone of the forum.

I'm not sure what Mitch would have us do in these situations but he's apparently unconvinced unless he has first-hand evidence that it occurs.

The other interesting bit of trivia coming out from that show, is that Michael Brodkorb mentioned he got his start in Republican politics as an alternate for Alan Quist.

Brokered Republican Convention?

Larry Jacobs was mentioning this possibility on Almanac last night. Paul on Powerline also mentions this possibility.

More mewling from Powerline on the results here.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: Iowa has given its seal of approval to (1) a one-term Senator who stands for "hope" and "change" and (2) a tacky, big spending governor who doesn't know much about foreign policy but did stay at a Holiday Inn Express. The common demoninator here, other than a patent lack of qualifications for the presidency, is likeability.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Good Blog Analysis of Iowa Caucus Results

From the left, Spot makes some good points with his usual dog's sense of humor. On Truth v Machine Gary Miller does better at predicting the Iowa caucus results than Bob Novak.

Former Mark Kennedy campaign manager Pat Shortridge writes:

« Previous—Next »
My $.02 on Iowa: Be Afraid
January 4th, 2008 by Pat Shortridge

Be Very Afraid.

Taking aside the winning and losing candidates, both in real terms and when measured against expectations, the numbers are downright scary.

According to the estimates I’ve seen, Democrats had approximately 240,000 caucus attendees last night; Republicans had about 125,000. That’s a stone’s throw from a 2-to-1 advantage.

Here’s where it gets really scary, when we consider some history. The last time both parties seriously contested and competed in Iowa at the same time was 1988. That year, 125,000 Democrats and 84,000 Republicans turned out, basically a 3-to-2 Democrat advantage.

In that fall’s general election, Michael Dukakis carried Iowa by 10 points over George Bush 41, one of only 10 states The Duke carried nationally.

One election does not a historical trend make, but we on the Right would be fools to ignore the reality all around us. Iowa was a virtual tie in 2000 and 2004. Yesterday, Democrats turned out twice as many caucus attendees as Republicans, this following on the heels of a particularly bad 2006 election for Iowa Republicans.

It’s time to stop kidding and spinning ourselves. I’ve said before and will say again: If we have the same people, in the same places, doing the same things, we are going to get a very painful result.

There's also debate between the different Truth v Machine posters on the GOP Presidential Candidates.

Meltdown Over DFLer Dahle's Win Over Republican Ray Cox

As reported on Lloydletta's Nooz yesterday, Dahle won the special election - 50-42% - with a margin of over 1000 votes.

The Drama Queen commented that "negative campaigning works".

Just ask Ray Cox and the Minnesota DFL. Cox was defeating by DFL candidate Kevin Dahle in the SD 25 special election. The DFL spent money on negative mailings and negative radio ads in the final days of this campaign. According to sources close to the race, the DFL didn't spend any money on promoting a positive message about Dahle.

Jeff Fecke commented:

# Jeff Fecke Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 2:00 am

Would you care for some cheese to go with that whine?

Several Mobster bloggers are doing some Friday Morning quarterbacking. Drew Emmer pinged Brodkorb's blog with this.

There was no credible rallying alarm for the conservative base to respond to. That was largely because many in the conservative base felt somewhat excluded by the process whereby Neuville anointed Cox without the benefit of a grassroots vetting of the GOP endorsement.

Al Franken and Tim Walz showed up to help execute the quiet revolution in SD25. And their efforts paid off.

Is this a harbinger of a further shrinkage in the ranks of GOP legislators in 11 short months? The Vegas line would certainly favor the dems at this juncture. Pay close attention to the explanations and excuses offered by our ranks as we react in shock to the black and white results.

"We" were out-smarted, out-flanked and out-worked. For the record, I did nothing to help in SD25. How about you?

In Brodkorb's comments Mitch Berg calls Cox a Sturdevant-approved hamster:

The real lesson: RINOs are suicide for the GOP.

Put a real center-right conservative with a real vision out there, rather than a Sturdevant-Approved (R) hamster, and you have a shot.

What Sam said. You listening, CD3GOP?

Another commenter blamed the Senate Republicans:

As someone who volunteered a handful of times for Ray Cox I don’t blame the Republican Party one bit for this. I only saw one or two people at any given time from that Senate Republican caucus and it was always a staff volunteer, never a Senator.

The Senate Republicans shit the bed here once again. They are full of a bunch of blow hards (and I fear this is happening party wide amongst our officials) who love to talk strategy and how they have all the answers but don’t do a damn thing when it comes time for actual work.

I’m tired of know-it-alls who are willing to criticize and comment but when it comes down to it they aren’t going to put anything into the end result. The Senate Repubs got what they deserved.

Another commenter disputes this:

# Elephant Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I would like to point out to BP that there were Republican State Senators working on the election. Some were down in SD 25 door-knocking and some in St. Paul making calls. Senators worked hard to put together the campaign efforts and raise money for the campaign. Just to let BP know we all lose - not just the Republican Senators!

Michael Brodkorb responds by giving Drew Emmer the first "Man not in the Arena" award, and giving Mitch Berg honorable mention for this "analysis".

# Michael B. Brodkorb Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Mitch: I want to congratulate you on winning the Minnesota Democrats Exposed Man Not In The Arena Award, honorable mention.

Please read my post regarding your analysis. I hope you’ll join me on air to claim your prize.

# Mitch Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Minnesota Democrats Exposed Man Not In The Arena Award,

In other words, the GOP version of “Chickenhawk”?

What, us mere peasants aren’t allowed to have an opinion about the workings of the party for which we work our butts off?

See you tomorrow!

# Michael B. Brodkorb Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 5:02 pm


Minnesota Democrats Exposed Man Not In The Arena Award is an apt description of people like yourself and Drew who did nothing to help out with the Republican effort in SD 25, yet you have time today to point out how the people who were actually in the arena helping out with the effort stumbled.

There's quite the debate on Brodkorb's comments also:

# patriot Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

I got the call from the MNRNC HQ to make phone calls for Cox. So I looked up Cox and did some research, what I found was another Norm Coleman and Jim Ramstad. It was the holidays so I had better things to do than make phone calls for another RINO.

The poster above is correct Brodkorb, you are too willing to prostitute yourself for anyone with an (R) behind their name. Your fawning all over Norm Coleman is nauseating, man, have some principles. And I normally agree with you! But I liked Drew’s possession of principles.

And Berg doesn't like this Man not in the Arena - it reminds him of "chicken-hawk."

# MBerg Says:
January 4th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Let’s all take a deep breath.

I will support anyone who’s with me on 80% of the issues, give or take. I don’t *like* the term RINO, but I use it, because it’s nice ‘n convenient.

From what I’ve read, Cox rated about a 26/100 from the Taxpayers League. I’m not looking for purity - I mean, I support Pawlenty and Coleman and might even give McCain another look, here - but I AM looking for basic agreement on the things that separate the Good Guys from the Bad Guys (of both parties): spending, security, smaller government. Did Cox stack up?

Also - whomever said the people of the district chose him; are you sure? I mean, I get the impression that the District leadership anointed Cox over the protests of people who wanted someone further to the right. I wasn’t there (that’s right, its’ true), but that is identical to the complaint I have about the CD4GOP - the arena I AM in.

As to the “man in the arena” bit, Michael - that’s perilously close to the “chicken hawk” slur that we all get from lesser minds. Tread lightly. I wasn’t “the man in the area” on the Titanic, but I get to say I woulda taken a different boat.

I think part of the problem was that Ray Cox was not a particularly vigorous campaigner. Kevin Dahle was. Dahle was a very popular high school teacher, and knew lots of people that way - both former students, and parents through parent-teacher conferences.

Brodkorb's point was that people win elections by showing up. Blogging does not do it when it comes to a special election. Direct voter contact does - and that means door knocking, pounding lawn signs, making phone calls, lit dropping etc.

Lloydletta's Nooz Exclusive: Minnesota State Party Officials Request that local party people in 41A (Erhardt's District) Not Hold District Convention

I hear from a reliable Republican source in the area that local party activists were asked to call off an endorsing convention. In this district, Keith Downey, a candidate from the theocratic wing of the Republican party is challenging Ron Erhardt. This is from Downey's philosophy of government (from his website):

God's moral precepts, written into nature and conscience, are the basis for law and liberty.

Does he mean the Levitical laws?

Endorsement Contest for Mark Olson's Seat

Sherburne County Citizen:

"If we need to raise revenue, it should be done by expanding jobs and nurturing small business, not by raising taxes on middle class families," she said.

Lumley and Gintz will attend the Republican precinct caucuses in March. The endorsing convention takes place March 22.

Rep. Olson intends to fight for his seat. Sherburne County Republican Chair Paul Vollkommer says he may get the endorsement of the Sherburne County GOP, in spite of political troubles at the Capital.

"Mark has served this district for 16 years," Vollkommer said. "He still seems to have a lot of support in the community."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Kevin Dahle Wins Special Election

Well my initial headline was wrong. Usually when 87% of the votes are in, and the results were the way they looked, you can call it.

Kevin Dahle does surprisingly well. At this time, it's 50% to 46%. More than 50 votes apart.

Update: I'd call it a win for Ray Cox when there were 87% in. Now the results have turned around - Kevin Dahle wins.

Final Results

Independence VANCE NORGAARD 257 3.18
Republican RAY COX 4065 50.37
Democratic-Farmer-Labor KEVIN DAHLE 3741 46.35
Write-In WRITE-IN** 8 0.10

Ray Cox did return my phone call (he left a voice mail at 5:30 PM) and said basically what he'd told "gPRT".

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Race Baiting at AntiStrib

Tracy Eberly posts on Kwanza:

Hey, did anyone see any Kwanzaa shit this year? I think that fad has run it's course.

Can't we just have a few black nativity scenes to make everyone happy?

Sue Jeffers is commenting right out of the gate.

Andy Applikowski comments:

Poor form, or is it lack of Twinkies? You Decide.

Kevin Dahle vs Ray Cox

Kevin Dahle's website has an issues section which gives an idea about the issues he considers importance. He states publicly he is willing to vote for a gas tax increase.

On March 30, Dahle writes on his blog:

At this point I expect that the election will come down to forty or fifty votes. That means that every single vote is HUGE! If you are voting by absentee, you can vote at the Le Sueur, Rice, Scott, and Sibley county courthouses or the Northfield City hall during the following times.

Dahle people didn't get out and vote during the primary. That could be because there was no contested primary.

Michael Brodkorb braved the cold to go out door knocking for Ray Cox. A commenter on the Northfield Locally Grown blog reacts:

Ack! According to his blog, Brodkorb is in Northfield campaigning for
Ray Cox! Do any of you read Minnesota Democrats Exposed? Why would Brodkorb campaign for Ray? I find Brodkorb insulting and tabloidian.

There is also audio of the radio spots here.

Update: Holly Cairns, the author of the comment going after Brodkorb owns a web design firm whose clients include candidate Kevin Dahle.

Ray Cox Backs Down from His Claim that There is a PRT Test Track in Duluth

Innovative Transit blog was surprised by Ray Cox's claim about a Duluth Test Track.

This is surprising, because most PRT innovators know there were plans for a Duluth system -- which had support of the mayor, council and business community -- but plans never proceeded due to lack of funding.

So like me, he contacted Cox.

I misspoke. It was my understanding that work moved forward on this after I left the legislature, but it appears that is not the case.

Cox never returned my phone call, so it's good to get him on the record that he was in error on this.

The rest of the Innovative Transit (pro-PRT) blog entry was ranting about Ken Avidor. Ken's post was accurate. He had no obligation to contact Cox to verify what he said, since it was on tape. Cox said, what he said - and after I listened to the video, and read Avidor's post, I googled for information about the Duluth area PRT test track and could only find a Mark Olson press release promoting it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Will Minnesota Monitor Grab the Washington Bureau Advantage from the Strib?

Minnesota Monitor:

On this last day of 2007, looking forward to a year when the Twin Cities hosts the Republican convention, Democrats are hoping to capture more congressional seats, and Minnesota's unique personalities -- from Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann to Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar -- are aiming to make an impact in our nation's capital, I'm interested in what happened to the Washington, D.C., bureau of the Star Tribune this year -- and, in news that has nothing to do with Minnesota's largest daily, discussing what will hopefully be a happy ending to this tale.
Paul Schmelzer :: Hope for "the Modern American Newsroom"
In March, Rep. Betty McCollum's office sent out a memo that, in part, bid a grateful farewell to longtime Star Tribune D.C. reporters Rob Hotakainen and Kevin Diaz, who were staying with McClatchy, the company that had just sold the paper to Avista. Avista lowballed the pair on salaries; at the time, Diaz said the offer would effectively mean giving "back every performance pay raise I've received since I came to Washington in 2000."

Strib management was incensed that McCollum's memo gave "the misimpression that the Star Tribune will now be covering Congress only with an intern," as Kate Parry, readers' representative at the time, put it. She argued that the last remaining Stribber in D.C., University of Minnesota grad Brady Averill, would be assisted by McClatchy news wires and Minneapolis-based editors.

In fact, Averill was the paper's only D.C.-based employee for 78 days in 2007. A week after her internship ended in May, management announced it'd be rehiring Diaz.

Today, Diaz is the Star Tribune's only full-timer, aided by an intern. The Pioneer Press doesn't have anyone in D.C.

According to Tom Hamburger, a Pulitzer finalist for his work with the Star Tribune and now a Los Angeles Times writer, the Washington bureau had five employees when he started there in 1989 -- four full-timers and an intern.

So where's the good news?

Right here. Minnesota Monitor's parent organization, the nonprofit Center for Independent Media (CIM), is opening what could be considered Minnesota's biggest D.C.-based news bureau. The Washington Independent, now in press-release mode but launching in mid-January, will have a staff of 10 to 12 reporters and editors covering Washington with an eye for the states with CIM daily news sites (Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota).

The site has hired a bevy of staffers who have worked for the Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, The Charlie Rose Show, Associated Press, and The Nation, to name a few. But it's a two-way deal:

Minnesota gets original news from Washington reported by writers who know us and our state. They'll cover policies that affect us, track our elected officials and provide on-the-ground resources for Minnesota Monitor fellows reporting on national issues. And when, say, they'd like to know how a bill before Congress will affect working people in Minnesota, we'll be there to help find those voices.

It will take a while for new Washington Bureau reporters to cultivate their sources and get up to speed. None the less, this is an interesting strategy. Since Minn Post, and Daily Mole have come on the scene and Eric Black left the Minnesota Monitor, the Minnesota Monitor was losing some of what was originally making people go to the site.

Swiftee asks about funding (brings up the Sorosphere issue again) and Paul Schmelzer responds:

Swiftee, with all due respect: I'm the editor -- have been since August -- and I've never made any denials about our funding. Nor, in fact, have I ever been asked about our funders, not by you and not by anyone.

That said, here are the Center for Independent Media's funders; we're awfully grateful for the support:

Arca Foundation
Arkay Foundation
Bauman Family Foundation
Better World Fund
Bohemian Foundation
Brett Family Foundation
Gill Foundation
Open Society Institute
Park Foundation
Quixote Foundation
Rockefeller Family Foundation
Sunlight Foundation
Surdna Foundation
Wallace Global Fund

Eric's "admission," it's worth noting, is not news. We have links to our funders on our About page and our Wikipedia page; the Center for Independent Media lists our donors; and back in October I reprinted a Chronicle of Philanthropy article that lists many of them. Further, The Washington Independent has been crystal clear about these funders, listing them from the start on its About page and in the site's first post, by CIM's national editorial director, Jeff Morley. Googleable links, every one.

Paul Schmelzer also writes for Eyeteeth: A Journal of Incisive Ideas.

When Michael Brodkorb first wrote that Minnesota Monitor was getting George Soros money, Robin Marty denied it. Brodkorb wrote this after Robin Marty wrote a story on Minnesota Monitor attacking him.

Ray Cox vs Kevin Dahle

Ken Avidor posted about Ray Cox's historical and current support for Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). The most interesting claim was that Duluth has a test facility. I've left a message with Ray Cox for comment for more information. Cox did support Northstar commuter rail - so he is not opposed to conventional rail. He voted against Mark Olson's amendments. Cox blogs about his positions on Rail Transit here.

Ray Cox does have a good record on environmental issues - and beyond that, made environmental issues a priority during his term at the legislature. He has consistently gotten the League of Conservation Voters endorsement. Cox was also one of the few Republicans to consistently vote NO on the anti-gay marriage/civil union amendment aka the "Bachmann amendment". He deserves credit for standing up to the theocrats in the Republican party on that vote. That vote was part of the reason he had a challenger at the convention.

The main concern I'd have with Ray Cox is the promise he made to delegates at the convention - that was that he would vote to uphold all of Governor Pawlenty's vetoes. That is NOT the act of an independent voice - and is an irresponsible position to take.

Here's the Dahle for Senate website. Dahle has a blog, and he allows comments. I will do some more investigation into the Dahle website to see what I can find about Dahle's positions later.

Ray Cox Claims there is a PRT Facility in Duluth.. and There is None

Remember Judy Dutcher's E85 flap?

How about a politician who claiims there is a quarter-mile demonstration PRT system up in Duluth?

Ray Cox supported Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) on his blog in 2004.

The election is January 3rd.

MN House website:


ST. PAUL - On the heels of the recent announcement that the state deficit is falling thanks to a rise in job growth, State Representative Ray Cox (R-Northfield) is co-authoring legislation that would create more new jobs, showcases Minnesota technology, and puts consumers in the driver’s seat of public transit services.

“The February budget forecast recently noted the reason for the declining deficit is an increase in new jobs,” Cox said. “The Personal Rapid Transit project will continue this trend by providing hundreds more good-paying jobs for Minnesota workers. At a time when Minnesota is looking to expand its job base and lure new business to the state, PRT already provides all the necessary ingredients: local technology, a willing community, and an eager workforce.”

Cox said Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a very innovative automated transit system developed right here in Minnesota, and the bill he is co-authoring would provide the Duluth Transit Authority with incentives to construct a PRT safety certification facility. It operates on demand; PRT passenger vehicles wait at stations for riders, not vice versa. As designed, PRT passengers would select an empty vehicle; swipe a pre-paid card; and enjoy a private, computer-run trip that would take them non-stop to their selected destination. The computer system automatically selects the fastest, most convenient non-stop route for passengers, and would be available 24/7. In addition, unlike any other system, PRT infrastructure and vehicles are fully mass-producible and can be quickly erected on site.

Cox said there are many benefits to PRT, including its high efficiency and low pollution rate. But Cox said the most important benefit may be a new job base.

“Once I discovered how many new jobs the project could create, co-authoring this bill became a no-brainer,” Cox said. “If we don’t act to keep PRT, this system and hundreds of jobs will most likely be exported to some other state.”

I emailed Ray Cox recently if he still supports PRT and he replied November 13th:

I have continued to like the concept of PRT for a number of reasons. I think the ability for the car modules to go off line to the stops, keeping the line service flowing, is a great feature. I also like the concept of elevating it so ground space is only taken up by the support standards. Let me know if you have specific questions.

-Ray Cox

Ray Cox asserted his support for PRT during a debate:

My LTE to the Northfield News:

To the editor:

At the Senate District 25 candidate forum Dec. 20, candidate Ray Cox describes himself and the Independent candidate Vance Norgaard as "PRT guys."

Ray Cox was referring to "Personal Rapid Transit." PRT is an infeasible, controversial transportation concept which has been wasting the time of citizens and public officials for over 30 years. There are no working PRT systems anywhere in the world.

Cox also says there is a 1/4 mile Personal Rapid Transit demonstration project in Duluth. That is not true.

Ray Cox also said PRT has "a lot of potential" and "the state should get behind it".

Ray Cox is misinformed. PRT is a classic boondoggle. There isn't a community in Minnesota that would willingly cut down half the trees on their streets for a monorail-like structure with a view into their second-story windows.

PRT was promoted heavily in 2004 by Rep. Mark Olson (recently ejected from the House GOP caucus) and former Minneapolis Councilman Dean Zimmermann (now serving a sentence for bribery).

Rep. Mark Olson's PRT bills in 2004 would have allowed Duluth (or Minneapolis) to bond for PRT, but those bills never made it past the conference committee.

Rep. Margaret Kelliher said in 2004 that PRT had "junk bond status"... she was right then and she is still right. PRT is a boondoggle that has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in cities around the world.

Even if PRT was everything its promoters claim it to be, PRT is not funded by the federal government as they do with conventional transportation infrastructure projects ... Minnesota taxpayers would have to pay for the ENTIRE cost of developing the technology AND building a system (if it were possible) that would cost billions of dollars just for the metro area alone.

I hope the voters of SD 25 elect a senator who supports proven, conventional transportation initiatives. Minnesota does not need more fiscally imprudent legislators eager to risk scarce public dollars on pie-in-the-sky concepts like PRT.

Ken Avidor


Read more about Ray Cox and PRT in the comments at Locally Grown.

It's too bad that politicians who promote PRT are never asked intelligent questions about it by the media. I hope that reporters will ask Michele Bachmann why she supported PRT when she was in the Minnesota legislature and ask her if she still supports PRT.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Why Did the MOB Parrot Pull the Shootie Awards?

A tipster sent me a link and an excerpt to a post by the MOB Parrot Mitch Berg that attacked Karl Bremer. The post was pulled when I went to it - and is not available through the google cache.

By Mitch

The Minnesota Monitor “Do As We Say, Not As We Do” Award For Grating Hypocrisy - Karl Bremer - dyspeptic anti-Michele Bachmann obsessive from Stillwater - made huge waves when, mirabile dictu, nearly every left-leaning regional simultaneously tripped onto a month-old, native-American-bashing post at “Anti-Strib”. ...

Actually I stumbled on this post a few days after it was posted and called attention to it here. The post was then discussed at Democratic Underground, Norwegianity, the Cucking Stool and possibly elsewhere on left leaning blogs.

After the Daily Mole published Karl Bremer's response to the post, Michael Brodkorb from Minnesota Democrats Exposed, an A-list conservative blogger, yanked his link to Anti-Strib from his Daily Reads and posted that "Anti-Strib Post Titled 'Dirt Worshiping Heathens' is Racist." Mitch Berg responded by defending the post by saying people didn't understand the context - that Tracy was responding to an annoying commenter, Doug. He later backed down. Now it appears he's gone back to his original views.

And while Anti-Strib got ripped pretty soundly by the local Sorosphere (and, let’s not forget,

Tracy Eberly’s piece last week last month, which the local Sorosphere has been tossing about like a bunch of poo-flinging monkeys, had some
background - an ...

I talked to another blogger who had read the entire post - and said that Berg had clearly put time into it, so it was odd that he would remove it. Were others in the MOB or in the Northern Alliance Radio Network telling him this was embarrassing?

UPDATE: The post is back up again but edited a bit.

And while Anti-Strib got ripped pretty soundly by the local Sorosphere (and, let’s not forget, a fair chunk of the regional dextrosphere), there was deafening silence about a comment Bremer himself left on a post at “Dump Bachmann“:

I thought I saw the name Drew Emmer among those arrested with Larry Craig for cruising MSP airport bathrooms for anonymous sex. I could be wrong, but Emmer’s behavior and comments seem oddly similar in both form and content to Craig’s.

There was never a comment from anyone involved in The [decreasingly relevant] Dump, or any other leftyblog outlet, about Bremer’s slander.

Being the darling of the local Sorosphere means not needing basic ethics.

This comment by Karl Bremer was in response to Drew Emmer leaving this comment on the DB blog.

I asked the question last week during a polite exchange with Bill Prendergast, a regular poster at, and a former writer for the Stillwater Gazette. The question was "Do you know the identity of the "Stillwater Infidel aka NSA"?

The reason I asked is because a number of posts on sounded oddly similar in both form and content to the type of material posted by Stillwater Infidel aka NSA.

At the time this comment was left, I responded point by point. You can see that response here.

However for the purpose of this post, Karl Bremer's comment was a snarky response to Drew's "when did you stop beating your wife" questions on Dump Bachmann. The comment was clearly satirical (as many of Karl's comments are).

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Excellent Parody Videos of the Presidential Campaign

Check them out. He's got some coverage on ÇNN.