counter statistics

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ron Carey Continues to Rattle the Tin Cup

For the third week in a row, I've gotten a fundraising appeal from the Minnesota Republican Party - specifically hyping the PCR (refund) program.

I'll write back (for a third time), briefly, and cite Rep. Michelle Bachmann's call for reinstating the HUAC on last night's 'Hardball'.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Peggy Noonan on Sarah Palin (Again)

From today's Wall Street Journal.

This is Peggy Noonan... who used to write speeches for President Reagan....

There has never been a second's debate among liberals, to use an old-fashioned word that may yet return to vogue, over Mrs. Palin: She was a dope and unqualified from the start. Conservatives and Republicans, on the other hand, continue to battle it out: Was her choice a success or a disaster? And if one holds negative views, should one say so? For conservatives in general, but certainly for writers, the answer is a variation on Edmund Burke: You owe your readers not your industry only but your judgment, and you betray instead of serve them if you sacrifice it to what may or may not be their opinion.

Here is a fact of life that is also a fact of politics: You have to hold open the possibility of magic. People can come from nowhere, with modest backgrounds and short résumés, and yet be individuals of real gifts, gifts that had previously been unseen, that had been gleaming quietly under a bushel, and are suddenly revealed. Mrs. Palin came, essentially, from nowhere. But there was a man who came from nowhere, the seeming tool of a political machine, a tidy, narrow, unsophisticated senator appointed to high office and then thrust into power by a careless Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose vanity told him he would live forever. And yet that limited little man was Harry S. Truman. Of the Marshall Plan, of containment. Little Harry was big. He had magic. You have to give people time to show what they have. Because maybe they have magic too.

But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things. Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.

No news conferences? Interviews now only with friendly journalists? You can't be president or vice president and govern in that style, as a sequestered figure. This has been Mr. Bush's style the past few years, and see where it got us. You must address America in its entirety, not as a sliver or a series of slivers but as a full and whole entity, a great nation trying to hold together. When you don't, when you play only to your little piece, you contribute to its fracturing.

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.

I gather this week from conservative publications that those whose thoughts lead them to criticism in this area are to be shunned, and accused of the lowest motives. In one now-famous case, Christopher Buckley was shooed from the great magazine his father invented. In all this, the conservative intelligentsia are doing what they have done for five years. They bitterly attacked those who came to stand against the Bush administration. This was destructive. If they had stood for conservative principle and the full expression of views, instead of attempting to silence those who opposed mere party, their movement, and the party, would be in a better, and healthier, position.

At any rate, come and get me, copper.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yes Prime Minister

My mother loves this series.

Yes, I've Always Been a Fan of Trash TV

Monday, October 13, 2008

This One is Clever

Bad Poll Trajectory for Norm Coleman

Check it out on

Amy Klobuchar, Tom Petters and Minnesota Teen Challenge - Oh My!

A version of this is also posted on the Minneapolis Issues list.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak was listed as an "Invited Speaker" at a 2006 event for
the Minnesota Teen Challenge
: a group that promotes the ex-gay ministy Exodus. Did Mayor Rybak actually speak at this event? Or did the group just drop his name. If he did speak at Minnesota Teen Challenge - why would he speak at a group that promotes anti-gay hostility (any group promoting Exodus is promoting anti-gay

Date 8/25/2006 11:00 AM to 8/25/2006 12:00 PM
Type of Event SAMHSA/CSAT National Recovery Month and Teen Challenge
Live Broadcast
Location State Fairgrounds
1265 Snelling Avenue N
St. Paul, MN 55113
Program Agenda 11 - 12 and 3 - 4 pm Live Broadcast with KTIS and Teen
Challenge Celebrating SAMHSA/CSAT National Recovery Month
Invited Officials/Presenters Lynnette Scherber and Rich Scherber;
Minnesota Teen Challenge Staff, Students; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
and the other members of the City's Executive Committee; Interim
Police Chief Tim Dolan

Minnesota Teen Challenge has several locations in Minneapolis. They
are notorious for being abusive to their clients.

For some first hand accounts go to these sites.

Teen Challenge USA links to Exodus Ministries - an Ex-Gay Ministry - it's listed second on this link list.

Teen Challenge claims a study by Northwestern University shows they
are 86% effective, vs 28% effective for secular programs

This study was actually a student's PhD disertation. If the study
were valid, it would have been published in a peer reviewed journal.

There have been very few, if any, reputable studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of faith-based programs. One of the President's favorite FBOs is the organization called Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge is clear that it is utterly Christ-centered. "It is not enough to have a vague belief in a higher power, one must commit to the Christ of the Bible." Teen Challenge, and most of the articles supporting FBOs, cites a study which shows that their program is 86% effective in comparison to the 28% effectiveness of secular programs. Actually, this study was done by Aaron T. Bicknese, a Ph.D candidate at Northwestern, and while they claim his study was "published," no journal is cited, which leads one to question whether it underwent the usual peer review for reliability and validity.

Senator Amy Klobuchar has gone to Minnesota Teen Challenge Fundraisers. It goes without saying that Michele Bachmann would show up for this sort of thing - but why would Amy Klobuchar do so?

Ken Avidor at Dump Bachmann has reported on the Frank Vennes, Petters, Minnesota Teen Challenge connection, and does a wrapup of media coverage on the matter.

William Kristol: Fire the (McCain) Campaign

October 13, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Fire the Campaign
It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign.

He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s. The Obama team is well organized, flush with resources, and the candidate and the campaign are in sync. The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional. Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.

He may be anyway. Bush is unpopular. The media is hostile. The financial meltdown has made things tougher. Maybe the situation is hopeless — and if it is, then nothing McCain or his campaign does matters.

But I’m not convinced by such claims of inevitability. McCain isn’t Bush. The media isn’t all-powerful. And the economic crisis still presents an opportunity to show leadership.

The 2008 campaign is now about something very big — both our future prosperity and our national security. Yet the McCain campaign has become smaller.

What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over. Shut down the rapid responses, end the frantic e-mails, bench the spinning surrogates, stop putting up new TV and Internet ads every minute. In fact, pull all the ads — they’re doing no good anyway. Use that money for televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time.

And let McCain go back to what he’s been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They’re happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free.

Click on the title of the post to read the entire op-ed.

Issues and policies aside, the McCain campaign is a disaster, and it's devolving quickly. The next three weeks will be interesting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Senator Alan Spear Passes Away

From a Minneapolis Issues message by Linda Higgins:

Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller notified senators today that Senator Allan H. Spear of South Minneapolis passed away Saturday evening at North
Memorial Hospital of heart failure.

He was a retired Associate Professor of History, University of Minnesota.

He was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1972, representing a
Minneapolis district centered on the University of Minnesota. In the 1980s, after redistricting, his district became centered on the Lakes and Kenwood areas of Minneapolis. He served a total of 28 years in the Senate, retiring in 2000. He was chair of the Judiciary Committee for many years. He was President of the Senate from 1992 to 2000.

Senator Spear was President of the Senate when I first joined the Minnesota Senate. He conducted the business of the Senate in a manner that was unfailingly fair. He asked us first-termers if we wanted to try chairing part of a floor session, and I said yes. He was the President and a very senior member, but he always looked out for the rest of us.

As President, he rarely participated in the debate of bills. But when Senator Spear came down from the President's podium and rose to speak, something rare and wonderful happened: People put down the phones, put down whatever they were reading, and sat back and listened. Sometimes Allan Spear the history professor gave us a lesson that helped us come to the right conclusion. Sometimes it was speaking from personal experience on an issue before us. He was known as the man who single-handedly killed the dove hunting season bill (which passed after he retired), by getting up and giving a recipe for dove that started with "Take 32 dove breasts" and ended with "Serves four."

Allan Spear also was carrying the Human Rights bill that added sexual orientation to protected class status, saying (among other arguments) something to the effect that "I am a gay man and in my sixties. This is not a phase."

Senator Spear was a Senator - a Solon - who governed fairly, intelligently, and with heart and soul. I miss him already.

Alan Spear will be missed.

Fruitfly on Michele Bachmann, Petters and Frank Vennes - Pardongate

Q.) What does cocaine trafficking, ex-cons, small-church pastors living in basements and Michele Bachmann have in common?

A.) Frank Vennes Jr:

Getting minimal airtime in our “maniacally ultra-Liberal” Mainstream Media, Michele Bachmann seems to be the remaining floater in the flushing toilet known as “Tom Petters Ponzi Conviction”.

While the rest of the country revolts on multi-billion dollar bailouts for AIG, Bears Sterns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, local Minnesotans are reeling from our own local CEO crook; Tom Petters

Read the whole thing.

Even Fox News.....

I watched part of Fox News Sunday today, and the political roundtable was not kind to the GOP presidential campaign.

They showed the 'worst of the worst' clips from Friday's Lakeville MN McCain campaign appearance.

Bill Kristol described the McCain campaign as 'stupid', as demonstrated by the conflicting messages in the ads vs. the personal appearances, and the constant strategic mis-fires.

It was also pointed out that Governor Palin has an open invitation to appear on Fox News Sunday, and she's not showing up. Instead, campaign manager and uber-lobbyist Rick Davis was a guest today, for a shouting match with an Obama representative.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota GOP treats a Vice Presidential candidate like a fast food promotion, mailing out foam rubber hockey pucks in exchange for refundable contributions.

They all deserve to lose... big time.

Coleman Had a Negative Ad on Al Franken Right Before the Debate

I watched the debate in the overflow room. One of Coleman's negative ads about Al Franken was on shortly before the debate. Was this one of those that was "in the pipeline" and couldn't be pulled?