consultants are sandburs

Friday, November 27, 2015

MINNESOTA HOUSE DISTRICT 35B - Wes Volkenant announces his DFL candidacy.

Click the thumbnail of the Volkenant press release to enlarge it to read.

Information in a nutshell:

Wes Volkenant, 59, of Andover, announces he will be running in 2016 for the House 35B seat currently held by Republican Peggy Scott, Andover.

Volkenant, DFL Chair of SD 35, is a long-time Training Specialist for Hennepin County's Human Services department and officer/activist in AFSCME Local 34. He will be seeking his party's endorsement at the DFL April convention to challenge GOP incumbent Scott (presuming Scott seeks reelection and is endorsed by her party and/or wins a primary).

Contact: Wes Volkenant, Committee to Elect Wes Volkenant

E-Mail to: 


(As of the timestamp of this post that site was an active working website. Readers are urged to check it out.)

Twitter: @Wesv35b

Phone: 763-434-1551

IN CLOSING: Volkenant's four point platform as identified in his press release surely resonates with me, and the hope is readers will weigh the principles on which he is running with approval. At present it appears Volkenant has no DFL challenger(s) for the endorsement. Whether Scott seeks reelection and/or encounters a GOP challenge is unknown. GOP readers knowing an answer are urged to submit a comment.

A heads up caveat for ALL readers, GOP, DFL or independent. Having received more than one email spoofing itself as being from Branden Petersen; emails that did not use his actual address but, e.g., a *.br address (meaning a Brazilian email account), advice to the general public is do not open and click on any links given within any purported political email without first confirming the legitimacy of the email address. Such spoofing might be a phishing trick, and any candidate being so spoofed may suffer dissatisfaction even though wholly innocent of any mischief or error. I have forwarded received spoofing emails to Petersen for notice, he is aware of the problem, so GOP oriented readers are urged to ask him about it.

A second actual, working Volkenant email address, one he has used for sending official SD35 notices as a DFL official, is:


[with the normal format to be used in mailing but with the given format used to frustrate malware web spiders that search websites to harvest email addresses for advertising or other purposes].

Many readers may be aware of these precautions already, but for those not so aware, this notice may prove helpful.

The Volkenant website notes a fifth issue position not within the single page press release:

Union Collective Bargaining Rights: Labor unions helped build modern Minnesota. As a proud member of AFSCME, I will fight any efforts to turn Minnesota into a Right to Work state, by stopping efforts to further undermine collective bargaining rights and efforts to eliminate existing prevailing wage laws.

[bolding in original] Incumbent Scott has not been an active union supporter in any way known to me during her entire term in office, but I also am unaware of any major effort by her along the lines of Scott Walker's egregious anti-unionism animus toward public employees.

A hope would be at some point in debate or otherwise that Scott and Volkenant would each publicly state and justify a position on a proper minimum wage level. This issue is of importance to millennial voters caught presently in minimum wage employment, and that voting bloc will grow in importance as it grows in voting participation in the district, the state, and the nation. Of course, that is not to say only millennials are mired in such low compensation employment. Anybody so constrained deserves our support in attaining betterment of their economic well being, independent of age or other demographics.

Woofing an opinion, so how can it be a falsehood, when only an opinion? A smokescreen, now that's more like it.

Taxpayer League Chairman Harold Hamilton, per his dog persona, has recently written:

If it wasn’t obvious to you on September 11, 2001, it should be painfully obvious to you now that there is a war raging, a war against radical Islam.

It is the defining issue of our generation and will occupy the efforts of serious world leaders for the foreseeable future, primarily for two reasons.

First, this not a war between America and radical Islam. It isn’t a war between the West and radical Islam. It is nothing short of a war between all of the civilized world and radical Islam.

This is because radical Islam seeks nothing short of the tyrannical goal of imposing an Islamic caliphate on the entire world. It is nothing short of seeking to convert all non-believers - or kill them like animals.

Second, the methodology and modus operandi of these terrorists is nothing short of shocking brutality and pure evil.

The leaders of this movement and their adherents are the ideological successors to Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin.

They kill, torture, rape, brutalize, and maim on a grand scale with absolutely no regard for the value of human life or any display of human decency.

The threat is real and it the threat applies to civilization itself.

The war will require the skilled and courageous leadership of America and her allies to assemble a Grand Coalition to prosecute the war and see it to a successful conclusion.

Just say no, to smokescreening.
(Or wag your tongue at it.)
The "defining issues" I see have nothing to do with warmongering and instead are: [1] corruption of the election process by moneyed interests, per Citizens United, including their hatred of sunshine on themselves [2] rapidly growing income and wealth disparity between the 1% and everyone else, and [3] a minnimum wage that is insufficient for a full time 40hr per week, 2000hr per year, worker to support a family with fifteen dollars per hour being a reasonable change, given the shrinking value of today's dollar.

None of that has to do with events in Syria. Each has to do with advantage of the wealthy, people like Woofer Watchdog Hamilton, in having destroyed the balance of one person's vote really mattering, and in liking and intending the "wealth rules" status quo to continue unabated, unreformed and even unrecognized but by the smarter dogs.

So, look over there, them Syrian ISIL folks. Horrible. Meanwhile -- Nothing to see here ... It is those bad guys speaking Arabic, over there, worry about all that. Trust me, civilization is at risk.

Give me a break. Somebody's "defining issue" sure looks like a smokescreen to me. The defining issue of my times is ordinary people getting screwed big time while being intentionally misled by diversionary tactics of the Karl Roves of the world and their fellow-traveling canines. Chew on that bone.

Notice: The timestamp of this item was altered by three hours because another post of greater importance should be top blog item.

Some things, when not showing up within mainstream media, can fall through the cracks. The woofer's tax arm-and-hammer's litigation did reach en banc Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued majority opinion, with no indication found indicating whether certiorari was sought, granted, or denied.

Presently, related litigation also in the federal Eighth Circuit has followed, while Crabgrass knows of no other Circuit addressing the will to hide behind an Iron Curtain of non-disclosure; see, e.g., online links here and here.

Readers knowing of parallel litigation results in other circuits are urged to submit a comment.

BOTTOM LINE: What do they have to hide? Hiding who is behind what seems the crux of the will to impose an Iron Curtain. But cases can be read differently by different people. If opinions of law were not subject to such diverse reading, and to evolution over time, there'd be no cause for litigating issues. All would be frozen in glass, with movement and alteration impossible.

Who pays the piper to play a tune seems to be a public interest thing. Stripped to that essential, the public's right and interest to know seems inherent, especially regarding money spent to influence politics.

If you really think otherwise take an IQ test.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A friend sent the link, and it is somewhat perplexing - business hatred over pottery retailing is the published story, suggesting there must be a story behind the story, one the PiPress item leaves untold.

This PiPress link, this excerpt:

The Red Wing Pottery Salesroom, which has been operating on U.S. 61 in Red Wing, Minn., since the 1950s, will close Dec. 24.

Although the store's sales are meeting expectations, owners Bruce and Irene Johnson say they have been harassed and threatened by other members of the city's business community. The couple bought the store nearly two years ago from its third-generation owner, who had said he would close it if he couldn't find a buyer.

"We would never have anticipated the hatred and anger we have faced in this community over trying to revive this great business," Bruce Johnson said in a news release. "We are worn out, stressed out and exhausted from being bullied by a small portion of the business community that seems to have incredible power in this city."

Johnson declined to comment further on the specific nature of the harassment.

Ten salesroom employees will lose their jobs, Bruce Johnson said.

There is additional detail in the PiPress coverage about pending litigation, but with no detail tying it, and the defendant organization and its allies, to harassment of the retailing operation or the family now running it.

The person sending the link by email wrote, cryptically, "I've seen it happen in Anoka, Nowthen, Ramsey, and Cambridge." I am unsure of detail there, and will leave it said that way because I would not want to draw a friend into any potential defamation SLAPP suit posture. Some people can be real quick to run to the courthouse, whether having meritorious claims or not, and indeed, one former Ramsey council member has done just that in suing another former council member, claiming "defamation." People of means can do such things. Defense of litigation, even meritless claims, is a cost burden people of lesser means may find daunting, thus leading to a chilling effect upon protected speech.

Strib has parallel reporting, here, and earlier reporting, here. More cumulative than innovative in describing vague community pressure, and the trademark litigation, Strib coverage still leaves detail of what exactly was at play beyond a business decision in the the ordinary course of business, to close a retail outlet.

Any business must succeed or terminate, and everyone likely has opposition of one sort or another to one or another kind of lawful or borderline business activity in a community, with some people out of business frustrations reacting one way or another.

While before I moved to Minnesota, a business resident apparently was denied some form of business use permit, or had some request to City of Ramsey denied him for some change regarding a commercial property location, and in frustration opened a different business, of an "adult" nature. Litigation resulted involving state and federal court disputes, and decades later an election issue was raised concerning the history of the business location and how city officials elected to react to things.

Clearly a pottery shop differs in lack of "adult" content, yet the Ramsey case illustrates a history of a business encountering sufficient community pressures as to be impacted in a way that changes and/or shuts down a business.

As a hypothetical, consider a vintner or liquor store permit seeker being opposed by community members disliking alcohol related business, and how tastes of a sector of a local population might frustrate an otherwise lawful enterprise. In that hypothetical, who might be right, who wrong; and would/should right or wrong be measured by established legal norms, or by biases of influential persons or the will of blocs of persons having particular belief systems apart from and more severe than abstract governing rules, under a rule of law? If marijuana becomes legalized in Minnesota, might similar problems arise for one wishing to open a medicinal marijuana business? Would the proper term be "community harassment" or "community will" or perhaps even "busybody interventionism," to apply to any influential single person or bloc opposition in such a situation? What are the liberties and rights that should govern?

Deft with words Bush speech writer - idiot and twit - Michael Gerson has the gall to criticize Donald Trump and to be taken seriously by Strib. Read of it, per Strib's republishing something Gerson wrote for WaPo that dumps on Trump, and gee, at the same time seems indirectly to serve John Ellis Bush's GOPe low-energy survival wish.

It reeks of sleaze --- and of a zealot's political correctness straitjacketing will to castigate:

Commentary - Time for denial is over. Donald Trump is shattering the GOP

Can economic, foreign policy and religious conservatives share a party with repugnant nativism?
By MICHAEL GERSON WASHINGTON POST - November 24, 2015 — 11:26am

[...] There are, of course, Republican presidential hopefuls who have vigorously opposed each of these proposals, arguments and stereotypes. But Donald Trump has, so far, set the terms of the primary debate and dragged other candidates in the direction of ethnic and religious exclusion. One effect has been the legitimization of even more extreme views — signaling that it is OK to give voice to sentiments and attitudes that, in previous times, people would have been too embarrassed to share in public. So in Tennessee, the chairman of the state Legislature’s GOP caucus has called for the mobilization of the National Guard to round up Syrian refugees and put them in camps. Many Republicans are now on record saying that Islam is inherently violent and inconsistent with constitutional values (while often displaying an ironic and disturbing ignorance of those values).

Vin Weber, a prominent GOP strategist, told me that many Republicans remain in “denial mode” about the possibility of Trump’s nomination. “How can you be the leader in national polls,” Weber says, “and in the early states, and maybe even in money, and be counted out?” In spite of saturation media coverage, Weber thinks the Trump effect on the GOP is “understated.” [...]

You read that right. Vin Weber as Gerson's loadstone navigational aid to all things proper in our society. Beltway Lobbyist Vin Weber, colleague of PACman Norm Coleman, two figures that in a proper light bring shame to Minnesota, for having raised and/or harbored them.

So who is Gerson, and might he be subject to being given GOPe marching orders?

Gerson is the axis of evil Bush braintruster; "the evangelical Christian who coined the phrase 'axis of evil' and wrote most of the president's scripted words."

See, also, Slate, The Atlantic in some detail, Wikipedia here and here, and Jeffrey Goldberg for New Yorker, and beyond that, web search is available for more online items about Gerson, his Bushco days and otherwise. Previous Crabgrass posting touching on the Michael Gerson persona, weeks apart in chronological order, here and here.

With Gerson doing a hatchet job on Trump, recall the old saying about the pot calling the kettle black. Gerson having served to mire our nation in the Bushco - Iraq war-for-oil fiasco, will not shut up, as long as WaPo feeds him cash to go negative on non-Bush candidates for the 2016 general election GOP party candidacy. Any words of favor? He at least keeps himself to working a single side of the street. Beyond that, readers are invited to weigh in via comments.

LAST: If you want an axis of evil, try this web search.

See if, to your mind, it fits.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Standing outside the tent looking in, a newly coined term on the Internet: GOPe. I first thought it was outer party speak. For the inner party, the GOP elite. Not so, apparently. But close enough. -- And then: What in the world has GOPe to do with posturing by Donald Trump about John Kasich and the not-affiliated-with-the-Kasich-campaign [nudge, nudge, wink, wink] PAC bloviating and hiding its purposes per the bothersome name, "New Day For America." (It appears to differ from "Make America Great Again," when it comes to who is sloganing where, etc.)

Check it out and tell me it does not stink of John Kasich, but there is the figleaf of non-affiliation, for what that's worth if you try to take it to the bank.

Retracing steps, from Reuters, "Trump lawyer warns Republicans about Super PAC attack ads," online here, for a start:

Donald Trump's presidential campaign warned the Republican Party on Tuesday about donors pooling funds for attack ads, saying Republicans must treat him fairly if they want to keep him from launching an independent bid.

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN that if Republican donors backing different presidential candidates come together for an anti-Trump advertising campaign, it would be a "bad, bad decision."

The Super PAC planning the attack is New Day for America, which is supporting Ohio Governor John Kasich's presidential bid. Its spokesman, Matt David, said on Sunday that 10 new donors had pledged money since Thursday when Politico reported the group's plans to attack Trump in New Hampshire.

[...] Cohen said the Republican Party may claim it has no control over Super PAC activities. But he insisted Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus has an obligation to treat Trump fairly.

"If they don't, this will be a very, very bad thing for the Republican Party," Cohen said.

RNC representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

That led to doing three overlapping web searches, this, this, and from reviewing a few links, this.

And from those, the insight, the GOPe flash of notice and understanding here:

Republicans will never win Hispanic votes. The sooner the Grand Old Party establishment (GOPe) acknowledges this the better off this country will be.

The gulf between how Republicans think Hispanics see the world; and how Hispanics actually do see the world is much too large.

The only areas of general agreement between the GOPe and Hispanics are their shared disapproval of Gay “marriage” and abortion. But since these issues are about as important as whether Arbor Day will be celebrated this year, there isn’t much mileage to be gained from these small agreements.

The media fueled mantra of “faith and Family” as the core of the Hispanic community is as specious as the myth of the “conservative Black family.”

Yes, GOPe is a term bandied among those I would view as middle-of-today's-Republican-road Republicans; in that they are not bankers on the one hand, nor knuckle-dragging Bruce Willis groupies obsessed with Syrians and embryo Angst (as Ted Cruz is but on the other non-knuckle dragging hand, and as Carly Fiorina postures along with her "bootstrapping from secretary to CEO" mythology when in fact her dad, Joseph Tyree Sneed III, was GOPe to the tee: as Duke Law School's Dean before accepting a Nixon-appointed federal Ninth Circuit appellate judgeship [Ken Starr and all]; and Carly got accelerated into business, where she failed, not by typing well, but via an MIT MBA attained after dropping out of law school to bum around Europe a while, that MBA coming with no bootstraps attached; i.e., where one person's exaggerated posturing is another person's outright, boldfaced lie; and where any chump thinking Fiorina is anything but pure GOPe to the core should be forced to take an IQ test).

But I digress.

Confirmation of GOPe being not an accolade but a term used derisively in talking the talk among those middle-of-today's-GOP-road-Republicans; see, e.g., here and here.

That settled, tell me if you can without a chuckle, that John Kasich and his PACmen are not a career politician - revolving door GOPe candidacy/operation, per their own words:

An advocate of personal responsibility, he chaired the historic House-Senate conference committee that overhauled the welfare system.

A senior member of the Armed Services committee, Kasich worked to help prepare the military for the new threats of the post-Cold War era by becoming more dynamic and efficient. He played a key role in passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the most significant restructuring and streamlining of the military command structure since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. He also traveled extensively overseas, visiting the Soviet Union, Kuwait soon after the victory over Iraq in 1991, and Bosnia-Herzegovina to observe and discuss political instability in the region.

After leaving government, Kasich worked successfully as a commentator on FOX News, as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, a speaker and was a New York Times bestselling author, but in 2010, he answered a call to return to public service and was elected governor of Ohio.

[...] The result? Ohio is now a national leader in job creation, its rainy-day fund has grown from $0.89 to $1.5 billion, its credit outlooks went up as the nation’s rating was downgraded and wages in Ohio are growing faster than the national rate.

By enacting innovative and common-sense reforms to control Medicaid spending, Gov. Kasich has saved taxpayers $3 billion and reduced the program’s growth rate from approximately 9 to 3 percent annually [...]

[italics added] And if you want more reasons to accord Kasich and the PAC touting him an absolute GOPe status, there are over eleven million ones reported twice by Politico, here and here.

Old boys with money and preferences, ponying up to PAC the race do not prefer Trump. Or that is the appearance of things, from standing outside the tent, looking in. And Trump holds, as noted earlier, the trump card; mess over me and see how an independent run affects your GOPe prospects.

Kiss his ring, or he might get riled ...

And the main question about Trump that remains unsettled, isn't he beneath all the bluster, GOPe?

Just better at it so that GOPe folks of other stripes (making other investments in other politicians) are plain and simple jealous?

If so, can the "trump card" hold them at bay?

More on Kasich inspired mud-slinging plans, with others, against Trump; here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and aside from that, how much more GOPe can you be, than Club For Growth? Those are early in a search return list, generated here. Hopefully, in cataloging a run of links none were repeated nor inoperative due to posting error.

Even so, readers can get the drift.

It appears the GOPe is circling the wagons so that Kasich (standing as Custer in things) can deploy ammunition with others (Jeb!, Marco, Christie, donors) set to pony cash and bits of bravado into the pool, to get Trump.

So, GOPe.

It is in the news.

Monday, November 23, 2015

CD2 DFL: " 'We’re at the beginning stages of this. I know Angie and Mary have people committed — we’re seeking individuals focusing on the issues, trade deals, a single-payer health care plan, and ask them to get on our bus to the precinct caucuses.' [...] Kittelson says he will abide by the DFL endorsement, and if he wins it, he says 'the money will come.' " And more -- " 'I’m not a multimillionaire, I don’t hang around multimillionaires,' Kittleson says. 'I hang around farmers and workers and union guys. That’s the family I associate with. If I get a contribution from those groups I feel fortunate. …We’re not afraid of grass-roots building and that’s what we’re going to have to do.' 'We have a few volunteers who agree with my platform.' ”

KISS is the oft used acronym for "Keep It Simple, Stupid."

With a candidacy defined by his two key issues, TPP as a threat to a working nation, and single payer health care being the solution to the present SNAFU with Romneycare [Obamacare], Kittleson defines himself in a KISS fashion.

Yes, Romneycare/Obamacare is a clear kludge. With Big Pharma reform having been taken off the table at the start and any plan being D.O.A. if the insurance industrial complex felt crosswise of even a part of a plan, what did you expect?

And then the Republicans now repudiate Romneycare, which was their plan until Obama said, "Okay, we'll do it."

So if you need to ask "Who is Kittleson," or want to learn more, MinnPost here; an item on what they headline as a long-shot CD2 DFL candidacy in the course of writing an answer; including the headline quoted text and more.

Long-shot or not, as with Bernie, you have to like a candidate saying the right things; (the only caveat to that, is your "right things" and mine might differ greatly).

Clearly Kittleson is not John Galt of, "Who is John Galt" fame, but to many that works in his favor. You do not need a turgid seventeen hundred pages of repetition from Ayn Rand to understand nuances and a campaign based on clear policy solutions.

UPDATE: Info on Kittleson, here, from an earlier candidacy when he lived in Wisconsin.

FURTHER UPDATE: According to Eric Black's MinnPost reporting, single payer is a ballot initiative. In Colorado.

They get the good initiatives: Legal pot and single payer. We get hateful dreck from the Kiffmeyer-Lucero-Koch Brothers branch of the Republicans -- dumping on gay people and trying to bottleneck out Dem voters. It must be that good Colorado mountain water that the one uber-rightwing mediocre brewer there puts so much of into his meager beer. "Clearing the mind good" water, even when diluted with bad vile non-union beer.

"The first step to treatment is recognizing there’s a problem."

Lifting another headline from mid-item opinion, here.

I could not have stated things better, nor more tightly for those burdened by short attention spans.

“The Republicans need to nominate the most conservative yet electable candidate and that’s who I am,” Howe said. “I’m not repulsive.”

The headline sums things up, given Jason Lewis suggesting he is fit for Congress.

It is a paragraph from within Strib reporting, online here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Scott Perry, a Republican from Santorum lands: If his motives are not bad, publicity hound piling on, then his judgment has to be called into question.

The Intercept, here (links in the original item):

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., appearing on talk radio this week to discuss his opposition to resettling Syrian refugees, said the “first thing” that needs to be done is to “get away from” referring to the individuals fleeing Syria as “refugees.”

Perry explained that while “some of them” are leaving a civil war, he would have stayed.

[...] “There is absolutely no reason they need to be coming to America,” Perry continued.

[...] Who Perry thinks they should fight for is not clear. Does he think they should join the ranks of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad? Or is he referring to any number of Syrian rebel groups, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, among others? I sent a request for clarification to Perry’s spokesperson but did not receive any word back.

He presumably is not suggesting that children and the elderly take up weapons. Of the over 4 million Syrian refugees counted by the U.N., 38 percent are under age 11, more than half are under 17, and only 22 percent are men between ages 18 and 59.

Perry currently sits on both the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., Perry’s colleague on the Homeland Security Committee, also dismissed the dangers faced by Syrians. In a letter to President Obama this week, Barletta referred to those fleeing Syria as “so-called ‘refugees.'”

Piling on, at a guess. Nobody could be that dumb or immune to facts. Well, say few, instead of nobody. Cut the Scott guy and his Republican Congressional colleague some slack, and presume that they are dunces and not shysters.

In the alternative: Both. This link.

A tale of two charts. One supported by people working for a living and suffering under income inequalities between them and the rich. The other, a tale of "Thank you" from the powerfully rich and their opulently massive law firms with minions employed and aimed at liking and keeping inequality as the status quo.

Context for the charts at an MPP post, online here. Click a thumbnail to enlarge and read.

So, who do you trust? Who should you trust being the bigger question, and one rolling all the way up to next November and down-ticket concerns.

Are you ready to perpetuate DYNASTY? And what about the nastiest parts of dynasty, becoming multimillionair elite players, out of politics and past held public office?

Yes, before anyone waves the "LESSER EVIL" flag; and knowing all that such a flag entails which is undeniably true; guess at, to move the status quo off the dime to better things and better politics, who's best, aside from:

Closing thought, those charts, my faith in unions - some of them - holds.

And do you need anyone to know which way the -

The way the wind blew "back then" when we were optimists, the way it blows today, the way of likelihoods, unless and until ...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Please Minneapolis. Deny a permit. That thing is so awfully ugly, tacky, that Flaherty would be ashamed to propose it. STUPID UGLY.

Read all about it, Strib, here. Source of the image.

RipBang Studios, a California-based division of the Minneapolis design firm Nelson, everyone there including temps and others should be hanging their heads in shame over proposing such a monstrously ugly thing. Ditto the Viking's front office brains who said, "Yes, I like it."

Does all of Zygi's stuff look that bad? It is a super eyesore. Like if Zygi were to wear a battery powered purple tie that flashes on and off every time the team scores a touchdown.

An eighty foot tall neon decorated statue of Zygi would be less an eyesore than that plastic fantastic pseudoship.

UPDATE: From the Strib item:

[...] the ship will incorporate stainless steel, stone, concrete and wood. Trees will surround the ship, which will also have theatrical lighting, sound and smoke effects.

Okay, not plastic fantastic. More from Strib's item:

Minnesota Sports Facilities Administration chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the structure will be a “distinct monument” and “unlike anything we’ve previously seen with stadiums around the country.”

Um -- yeah, okay, one could say that. The closest thing to being that tacky is the Oral Roberts University gigantic praying hands. But only if they were retofitted to hold an LED screen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jindal latest doing the GOP governors shuffle.

Joining Perry and Walker, Jindal hangs it up. No link, google his name.

With a fourth they could play bridge. Govs Kasich, Bush, and Pataki take heed.

Almost forgot, Gov. Bridgegate would make a fine fourth but most appealing, the standardized test maven would be best. He'd not pull the plug on the bridge table lights. Not even to grab all the cash on the table and slip out a back window into the darkness.

Unrelated to that thought, really, what's Neil Bush doing these days?

Do you want a less violent neighborhood and community, ideally violence free? Bookmark these sites.

Homepage, here. A subpage. Another. Alexandra House.

Spousal abuse is not only criminal but abhorrent of all that any true family-friendly organization should stand for. If it calls itself "family friendly" and has no clearly articulated policy on the abhorrent evil of spousal assault, it is deficient.

Think of it this way. Wife-beaters are the full equivalent of child molesters, preying on the vulnerable and defenseless and often causing lifelong pain, trauma, bitterness and psychological Angst; and, if unrepentant and irredeemable, then spousal and child abusers have no place in a civil community and should be locked away. They should be treated as severely as child molesters in a criminal justice context if an abused-spouse-requested initial counseling requirement fails to any degree.

Moreover, if an abused spouse wants severance and protection, rather than counseling and attempted reconciliation, that is

a right and not a privilege.

Our community owes such a choice a duty of protection and enforcement.

To quell any misunderstanding, the site that uses a green border similar to Crabgrass is entirely independent of Crabgrass, and more worthwhile. The links are given as helpful to community leaders and legislators, to help set priorities straight, and this post was created without any prior notice to linked-to site creators. It simply was a humane thing to post even while having nothing to do with developers or consultants. It is a post that should have been published here earlier. It represents an awareness that ought to transcend other community issues, among community leaders. Contributions to help sustain linked-to group efforts should, beyond helping, make you feel proud for making the choice to help.

Courthouse News Service: Block on NSA Spying Put to En Banc D.C. Circuit - By TIM RYAN

Online here. This is Larry Klayman's case. Reading the post it appears Klayman seeks an appellate en banc hearing, but it is unclear whether the D.C. Circuit will grant one.

Klayman quoted within the news service item:

Klayman announced Monday evening that he wants the full D.C. Circuit to review the stay, saying "even one day that the Constitution is violated is one day too much."

"Now, obviously gun-shy after the Paris terrorist attacks, the appeals court has again put its head in the sand and not stood up for the privacy rights of We the People," Klayman said in a statement. "Importantly, as Judge Leon pointed out, the Obama [administration] and his NSA had not been able to show, on the court record that its mass surveillance stopped even one terrorist attack, here or overseas."

If the record does indeed show no proof of effectiveness, it not only breaches privacy, but is wasteful, and in Matt Look terminology, NSA intrusions represent a government want, not a need.

The NSA since Klayman first filed suit has remained the NSA, doing as the NSA does. It was a hell of a job they did in Paris. How can you argue against that?

Some of the media editorialize one way, some the other. Readers may think as they like, while I agree with media opinion.

Crazy Ben in Nevada, "I'll see your fence, and raise you one.' A fence-fence here, a fence-fence there, everywhere a fence-fence, ...

Las Vegas Sun reports:

The retired neurosurgeon, who had appeared in Arizona on Saturday, pointed to the efforts in state in Yuma County in proposing how he would try to secure the border. He again said it could be done easily in a year and suggested prosecuting all first-time offenders, installing a double fence and using technology-driven surveillance to cut down on the percentage of illegal crossings.

"You can pretty much get it to 100 percent," he said of his proposal.

Carson also said that eliminating "any kind of benefit that a person who is illegal could get" would be key to cutting the perception of incentives.

With a double fence they could use tigers.

Yes. Hobbs likes Calvin's suggestion. Between the fences a no-mans-land, "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." You could put Grover Norquist between the fences too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When younger it was easy to think of unions as progressive. It is getting harder and harder to believe.

Hey, look at Bernie.

This link. I hope they knock on other people's doors.

Sure, if it comes to something like Hillary Clinton vs. Ted Cruz, she has my vote.

Not my enthusiasm. No way.

My vote.

Dynastic seems the posture of convenience in these times.

I always have had respect for Al Gore, when he won the Presidency and was undercut by a rigged court, he came through the entire thing with class.

What I have no respect for is a cramdown.

At least Al's not smiling vacuously. But, still ...

The Big Dog town, and its streets. Have they thought about using a franchise fee?

A half month old MPR post, here, but worth notice. Franchise fees are a regressive form of taxation, without any real hearing mechanism in place before a franchised utility services provider can terminate a non-paying (non-winter) account; so due process is a consideration.

Readers of the linked item will see franchise fee usage was not mentioned. It is just an idea that for no real reason popped into mind upon seeing the article about street upkeep.

Wholly unrelated, and Ramsey-centric, the town's Charter Commission will meet Dec. 10, with it mainly a pro-forma short session and one absent of front burner considerations, unlike the case in the recent past in Ramsey. Commissioners will attend and form a quorum, meeting annual duties, but any citizens attending might be disappointed in substantive matters not being at issue.

Wait until next year?

"Neither Hegseth nor Concerned Veterans for America will be endorsing a candidate this election cycle."

The headline is the final paragraph, here.

What the item omitted, there will be no GOP primary/pre-convention endorsement.

After that, this Koch brothers front will fall in line with their minders, and put on blinders, Hegseth then saying,

"GOP candidate [fill in the blank] is hunky dory; worthy of my love and endorsement."

Hegseth only works the one side of the street. His view of rectitude. Comparable to Karl Rove.

An Indiana blogging lawyer writes of our good friends, Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Collins.

Take the post as one man's opinion, with David Flaherty's opinion likely to differ:

Real estate experts with whom I've spoken tell me there is no way the proposed 28-story, $121 million luxury apartment tower Flaherty & Collins plans to build at the site of the former Market Square Arena site can ever cash flow. It perplexed me why even with the nearly $25 million the City of Indianapolis contributed to the politically-connected developer for the costly tower that any lender would ever loan money to the company that has a past history of building costly high-rise buildings only to file bankruptcy before work was completed. It turns out that the hucksters are relying on the controversial EB-5 immigrant investor program to raise a substantial part of the capital it needs for the project.

Under the EB-5 program, wealthy foreign investors from countries like China, India and Saudi Arabia can purchase green cards to immigrate to the U.S. by investing between $500,00 and $1 million in a qualified business project in the United States. The program has been rife with fraud. [...]

[...] shouldn't Indianapolis City-County Councilors have been told that Flaherty & Collins planned to bring dozens of foreigners to the U.S. as part of its plan to build it's city-backed deal before they signed off on it? I recently inquired of council sources about rumors Flaherty & Collins was having trouble financing the project. The council was assured there were no hang-ups in financing.


It's not like drug money or something? The truth is that Flaherty & Collins will have no idea where these investors got their money and won't care. As long as they're ponying up their $1 million contribution to an investment doomed to be a colossal failure, who cares where they got their money. The firm is ensured of making a large sum of money from development fees from the project so whether it succeeds or fails as a going concern is of no concern to them. It's other people's money, after all. One point that's not mentioned is there is an annual cap of 10,000 visas that can be issued each year under this program. That cap was reached for the current fiscal year on May 1, which means new visas won't become available until the next fiscal year begins on October 1.

The Star wasn't much concerned at the time, although Russell does include in his story the fact that Mayor Ballard's former deputy mayor of economic development, Deron Kitner, who brokered the deal between the City and Flaherty & Collins, is now working as the company's general counsel.[...]

The post is dated May 17, 2015, so do not regard it as current news.

But is it currently relevant, to Ramsey? That would be if the town government contemplates any further involvement with the Flaherty firm. Let us hope it is news that is irrelevant to Ramsey.

One phrase in that story that is a bellringer, "... other peoples money ...". The author uses the term "hucksters," and that reminds me of the Darren Lazan - Ryan Cronk mischief over who Ryan Cronk really was in things, and whose table he really fed at.

And then the part about the influential public official's after-the-fact employment by Flaherty's firm. Champion a deal and who knows what may happen.

Ring the bell, if you see anything offensive in this kind of arrangement becoming - indeed being entrenched.

This Reuters link. Brigands will be as much a brigand as allowed to be, and brigands having ill-regulated authority over essential medicines is a worse form of brigandry.

"Brigandage" is today's word of the day.

Also on Reuters, this Trumped up story.

And the pundits disclaim any hint of Donald Trump's appeal, saying antiestablishmentarianism is a puzzling but fleeting thing. Actually, the more, the merrier, given John Ellis Bush and Hillary Goldman-Sachs Clinton as the establishment.

The one caveat, does any sensible person really trust Donald Trump in what he is saying beyond his proposal to rig the tax system even more favorably to those having parked enormous wealth overseas while awaiting a gutting of corporate taxation rates in our nation? When Trump says he'd allow the brigands to bring their billions back into our nation scot-free, I believe him.

Sometimes one can find common ground with a "conservative."

Dismissing Tom Emmer and Vin Weber as limited and compromised lightweights, inconsequential and banal, each full of himself and unwilling to see why dissatisfaction exists in the populace - anyone expanding on that somewhat obvious theme cannot be all bad. Adding Larry Jacobs into that pair making a troika seems appropriate too.

However, the problem is that none of the three is inconsequential. Each has consequences, and consequences can be good or bad - that's a matter of perspective.

Gilmore, here and here.

With regard to Jacobs, the term "Political Science" is an insult to science. It is akin to saying "Social Science," when the term used in my high school curriculum was more appropriate, "social studies."

Abigale Whelan has her political science degree. The proof is in the pudding.

One part of one of the cited Gilmore posts begs expansion:

Michele Bachmann is said to be actively trying to find someone to run against Emmer in the primary. Like so much of her career, this strikes me as a fool's errand. Tom is going to continue to suck up to the liberal establishment and get stroked in public for it. He practically purrs out loud. He'll turn to his voters in the district and bully them into another term. And another and another.

When he appeared at the MinnPost Roast earlier this year he disparaged his Tea Party critics to the hoots and hollers of the assembled brain dead liberals. I attempted to procure the video of that portion of his appearance but it was wisely not released by that so called media outlet.

Yet respect is key, he told his Humphrey School audience.

The man's head size has gotten even bigger since going to DC, respect being something having to be earned, but what's that part about Michele Bachmann being afoot? Does she miss the attention of press and public, or worry Emmer will be raptured before her? Upset Pawlenty got the banker roundtable cash flow and she left office and got zilch? Dusting off the old bullhorn for mischief of one kind or another?

In short, Republican friends, what's up with Ms. Yesterday's News?

Is it simply times and tastes changing in the big elephant tent, and an "attention deficit" disorder of a different kind than the term normally covers?

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
I think Peggy Scott would be a perfect candidate for Bachmann to convince to run against Emmer.

Rhonda, she's had her one strike, and the GOP locally operates on one-strike-and-out.

Warts and all, Rhonda was a better option than big-head Emmer, but the voters felt otherwise, and they hold sway. Mr. Emmer went to Washington, and languished comfortably in his role.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Extremism and brinkmanship? Is it there, and if so might it be problematic?

Residual Forces, here and here.

It takes a special perspective to say the aims criticized within the first item are evil, or countercultural to American values of what most of us would like for their state and nation, for themselves, and for their children and grandchildren.

Andy has posted more, and while he has streamlined a lot of questionable sidebar items into history in reformatting his blog and left only a reminder of his candidacy on the homepage, he has retained his archive link, and because voters might wish to know what is there two posts are presented in the opening paragraph as examples. They were not randomly selected. They were chosen because progressives surely, and perhaps a majority of moderates might take heed.

The name calling offends, but is not the main point. Andy can categorize a post under "Asshats" in the one instance, or "Know Thy Enemy," (meant in a figurative and not absolute sense), in the other instance. and it is not any coarseness of language that really should be at issue. Terminology and stylistic choice are within a blog author's constant prerogatives and privilege.

Hence, judging label and name usage, if important to any readers at all, should be secondary as an indicator of a possible temperament difficulty, i.e., not expressing a consensus building orientation many think necessary in legislative deliberation. Yet it is the substance of the full body of Andy's posting that matters.

Brodkorb wrote:

The committee which interviewed and screened the Republican candidates for the endorsement noted Aplikowski was being nominated with "reservations" because of "inflamtory [sic] blog statements" written by Aplikowski.

Alex Huffman, who had filed a campaign committee to run as a Republican in Senate District 35, but later withdrew, said this morning he is backing Abeler.

"I feel Andy is vulnerable to losing a general election and I don't think Jim is," said Huffman.

Abeler, a licensed chiropractor, said last evening he is "more comfortable" running in the primary and has been organizing for a primary challenge since he announced his campaign in September.

Aplikowski said this morning he is "running a positive campaign" and Abeler will face an "uphill battle" in the upcoming primary election.

[...] Aplikowski acknowledged Republicans have expressed concerns about his past blog postings, which he described as "some bad language I used online."

He said an undiagnosed sleep apnea condition contributed to his harsh online commentary and his health has improved since being diagnosed.

"When you wake up tired and crappy every single day, it clouds your judgment and filter on things you should say and do," said Aplikowski.

The Huffman quote Brodkorb published brings to mind the Leo Deroucher adage, "Winning is not the most important thing, it is the only thing," which also is arguably a sentiment relevant to government brinkmanship/shutdown considerations.

Deroucher also said, "Nice guys finish last," and while such sentiments apply to baseball, are they helpful to political balancing?

Final point - over the years that Crabgrass has been online some things were posted earlier that are mooted by a change of mind or a better and fuller perspective - and the same applies to Residual Forces postings. There is the truth that if one is entirely consistent over time inflexibility may be an acute personality problem. Andy's evolving viewpoints is hence not unduly troubling to me but others form their own opinions. In that regard, one Dylan song noted, "He that is not busy being born is busy dying."

Sleep apnea aside, Andy has the right to evolve his perspective, and an old saying is, "Consistency is the hob-goblin of petty minds." Bottom line, it is the body of thought that matters, that may suggest success or failure in dealing with others in the law-making process. The forest, not any individual tree.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It has always seemed so to me, and now a formal study examines, "The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World."

Tight compartmented persons being who they are, in linking to the study, Science Direct notes:

Many families believe religion plays an essential role in childhood moral development. But children of religious parents may not be as altruistic as those parents think, according to a new international study from the University of Chicago published Nov. 5 in Current Biology.

A team of developmental psychologists led by Prof. Jean Decety examined the perceptions and behavior of children in six countries. The study assessed the children's tendency to share -- a measure of their altruism -- and their inclination to judge and punish others for bad behavior.

Children from religious families were less likely to share with others than were children from non-religious families. A religious upbringing also was associated with more punitive tendencies in response to anti-social behavior.

The results were at odds with the perceptions of religious parents, who were more likely than non-religious parents to report that their children had a high degree of empathy and sensitivity to the plight of others.

"Our findings contradict the common-sense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind toward others. In our study, kids from atheist and non-religious families were, in fact, more generous," said Decety, the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry and the College and director of the University of Chicago Child NeuroSuite.

The study included 1,170 children between ages 5 and 12, from six countries -- Canada, China, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.

For the altruism task, children participated in a version of the "Dictator Game," in which they were given 10 stickers and provided an opportunity to share them with another unseen child. Altruism was measured by the average number of stickers shared.

For the moral sensitivity task, children watched short animations in which one character pushes or bumps another, either accidentally or purposefully. After seeing each situation, children were asked about how mean the behavior was and the amount of punishment the character deserved.

Parents completed questionnaires about their religious beliefs and practices and perceptions of their children's empathy and sensitivity to justice. From the questionnaires, three large groupings were established: Christian, Muslim and not religious. (Children from other religious households did not reach a large enough sample size to be included in additional analyses.)

[italics and ending parenthetical in original]

Regimented minds are as they are. A pdf of the journal publication can be downloaded here.

I think you see this in politics. Compare Bernie and Ted Cruz.

A while back a fairly rigid minded local politician circulated an email contending Muslims do not make good citizens (presumably from the viewpoint that Christians do). That was mere offensive and opinionated speculation-mongering and not a formal study.

Likely some may feel that altruism is for suckers, and not akin to good citizenship. Grover Norquist comes to mind.

With altruism as a consideration, does any reader find anything wrong in this series of academic arrangements? (For those not certain, the University of Chicago is a private university, so arguments about public money better spent are largely off point, and arguably indicative in part of a mood that private sector money should not be spent in whatever way the spender deems best. That caveat is given, noting reporting is unclear whether the described university efforts may be funded in whole or in part by public sector grant money under specific granting authority rules or requirements.)

Our Republican friends. Have they a new Gestalt?

"the-monster-in-the-graveyard.jpg" Online, here

WWTS? What would Taft say?

MN35 GOP convention, hearsay is it went four ballots between Aplikowski and Abeler. [UPDATED] ...

Talk things over with people you trust, Jim.
There are options where your skill set might fit best.
Perhaps in a smaller law-making body.
(photo credit: Strib)

... and, again hearsay, Aplikowski got endorsed for the SD35 special election.

Reader help on confirming this would be greatly appreciated.

If so, Abeler is free to weigh options, including a more local seat in a non-partisan way that could be a refreshing thing for him, if a majority of his GOP conveners went that way, in a rancorous undisciplined fashion. Not being there, but outside that tent looking in, I can only guess at rancor levels and such.

As soon as any reader learns whether Abeler will mount an SD35 GOP primary challenge or not, the courtesy of a notice to Crabgrass readers would be helpful.

One thing I have appreciated about Jim Abeler, over time; he is attentive to email inquiry regardless of the politics of the sender.

In response to an email, (and possibly in light of the above concluding paragraph) he noted this morning:

I'm all in. [...] please remind people to vote for me on Tuesday, Jan 12.

if you have any good sign locations, I'm in the market.

[emphasis added] While liking Abeler's approach rather than any slash-and-burn alternative there may be on the GOP side, his Jan. 12 message is for all, DFL crossover voters included.

The Governor's Writ of Election sets Jan 12, 2016, for any necessary party primary contests, (with Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016, being the determinate election date for the SD35 special election). In the dead of winter, both dates, so let us all hope for a good weather turnout.


Hopefully, neither Abeler nor his supporters will take great offense at that terminology. As one closer to Wellstone in sentiment but feeling Paul was a bit too moderate, that is how I feel, and it is fair to all that I say so.

The Crabgrass position, implicitly clear already but worth explicit stating: Should there be a DFL primary contest, (with none apparent at present with Roger Johnson presently the only DFL candidate, and a good one, as a moderate), I would vote that ballot.

However, if Johnson remains unopposed within the DFL when Jan 12 arrives; I would walk or crawl on hands and knees through eight feet of snow and howling winds if needed, to reach a polling place to crossover vote the GOP ballot, favoring Jim Abeler.

Any progressive in my position can view Jim Abeler as a sensible, well-grounded but clearly right-of-center moderate, who, while far from my own politics that way, is head-and-shoulders more appealing than an inexperienced and overly abrupt and opinionated trailer camp landlord who stands as a zealot of the new GOP local leadership putsch.

To me at least that is a crystal clear viewpoint. And this is said with an understanding that Abeler would stand the better chance of defeating Johnson in the February 2016 special election, so that some DFL insiders obviously might wish for an Abeler primary defeat as more favorable to Johnson's ultimate prospects and opportunity.

The only question relevant to me after that clarification: Should Abeler not win in February, could he still then offer a candidacy for some other office or would he be time-barred? Any reader on top of deadlines for filings who could answer that question is invited to comment. There is the county board, where my understanding is that Abeler resides in a board district that will be contested on the November 2016 general election ballot.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Of interest, in September a Ramsey blogger picked Aplikowski, bio here.

Judging fairly, the online blogging is premised on belief set, not on any easily suggested limitation.

Others however, ...

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Brodkorb reports for Strib, this link for detail.

A question for our Republican friends: Presuming Abeler wins his primary (likely dependent on turnout which for special elections in the cold of winter is an uncertain factor), then will Aplikowski resume hos blogging, and if so, would he be supportive of Abler, or go back to whining over the Pawlenty veto override, etc.? Andy's habit was to scrupulously observe Reagan's Eleventh Commandment, except when he did not want to in which case he'd sometimes express scorn, and whether or not that factors into his primary prospects, the question is where will his head and heart be if he loses the primary?

Harold Hamilton already has shown an anti-Abeler predilection, so Jim might find out who his friends are should he win the GOP primary.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________

Representative, or anomalous GOP district voters?

And how will possible bloc voting in that district population sector play out when primary time arrives?