consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Strib nastiness toward Al Franken continues.

Here, the headline is "Franken pays $70,000 back taxes, penalties."

Yet read the item.

It appears that he used a Subchapter S corporation for his personal services business, speeches and entertainment, nationwide, as invited as scheduled.

It appears, although Strib kind of horses the story up, that the original incorporation was in New York, with the firm registered as a "foreign" corporation in California and Minnesota - those being the key states where Franken earned income.

Then, as an accounting matter trusted to the accountants, money was earned at a number of venues, not allocated that way by the accountants, and hence over-allocated as income earned in Minnesota and in New York.

Strib, in the details buried in the body of the article, reports the difference will be about $4000, net, once things are straightened out. It attributes that number to Franken sources, and presents no evidence to rebut the number. It's not investigative journalism, which would cost money, it is low-budget low-quality STRIB.

Presumably that netting out to a balance of only $4000 includes penalties, Strib says so, and imposed penalties can be quite harsh and extreme when innocent error and nothing more is at issue.

That net of $4000 is far less than the headlined $70,000.

Is the headline false, no.

Is it misleading.

Ya betcha. Franken is getting unfair treatment, from STRIB.

State taxation patterns differ, and money misallocated as Minnesota earnings would have been taxed in the incrementally highest Minnesota bracket that Franken's earnings exposed him to, in-state.

Had Franken been invited and paid in Washington, Florida, and Texas, exclusively, none of those states, to my understanding, assess personal income taxes. They rely exclusively on sales taxes and property taxes. Were his business so concentrated, and he had misallocated - his accountants misallocated the income to Minnesota and New York - he might have come out of things being owed a net balance.

Each state is its own ultimate authority, on what it taxes and on what rates are imposed. And the best guess I have is that the GOP knew that something might be amiss because it is a morass to have 50 separate taxation schemata to contend with; and it is the GOP types that have to deal with this on a more frequent basis, because they are the wealthy and super-wealthy, coexisting among the rest of us.

It is all a tempest in a teapot. A Brodkorbian excursion into the irrelevant, (which is not an entirely infrequent occurence). But bottom line, it harms the candidacy of Al Franken, and it does that unfairly unless the reporting is purposefully and scrupulously fair and balanced - something less often delivered than promised - fair and balanced reporting.

You may ask yourself --- Do the Colemans, their corporate retinue and affiliates for their BLO and GO profit-seeking effort, collect and pay sales tax properly to the last penny for the various states from which persons order and buy their item?

Who cares?

THE POINT IS: This is a diversion from real issues - where the GOP consistently is weak and alien from basic credibility. STRIB beating that horse for the GOP allows Coleman the diversionary opportunity to foster an appearance of further distancing himself from the adminstration he's been largely in lock-step with for years, but which now weighs against his chances the more it appears that Norm is little else than George Bush's butler.

It is a STRIB diversion from whether Al Franken or Jack Nelson Pallmeyer are better men, better fit for office in the Senate, than the present incumbent.

That is the only thing that is at issue. Fitness for office. Trustworthiness and human heart, head and passions. Jack's on track. Al's on track. Norm's playing around with the third rail, BLO and GO factored in, or left out of the equation.

Al and Jack are better people.

It's clearly opinion, judgment, and that assessment will not be agreed with by those who like and will vote for Norm. But it's how I read things. It's my right to hold and express such opinions. So I do.

All else beyond who's best for the job - Jack in my opinion, then Al, and so far outdistanced as to not be a viable option, there is Norm - all else beyond that "on balancewho's best" voter choice drifts into vain GOP effort to disctact people from the core truths - the main truth being that it's time to retire Norm Coleman from the Senate. It's overdue.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time to call out Star Tribune for inexcusible big-time mainstream media bias.

First, I favor Jack Nelson Pallmeyer for DFL endorsement, but Al Franken is also an outstanding candidate.

There were three outstanding candidates for Senate before Mike Ciresi dropped out.

Still two.

And an awful incumbent to be swept out. Jack or Franken, either would be a fine broom, for the sweeping.

Here's the big-time-bias situation.

Do an advanced Google (site specific to Strib) for Franken taxes (this Google = franken taxes site: and see the multiple hits, where the GOP mountain-out-of-a-molehill Brodkorb-special propaganda gets recycled, by STRIB.

Then, try this comparable site-specific Google on the fact that Norm Coleman has not reported his spouse's "Blo and Go" income, despite it being a going concern of the Colemans, for about four years (this time, the Google = coleman "blow and go" site:

Not a hit.

However, Strib did report it, but in terms of the Colemans hoping with their business partner to "become gazillionaires." The @&&$*#@@^*&^ gossip column, in January is where it got buried.


First, credit TwoPuttTommy for connecting the dots, between the Coleman family income source and the listing of two other spousal income streams but not mentioning "Blo & Go" "as seen on TV."

Then see the fair-and-balanced blog coverage, something both STRIB and PiPress have passed on covering, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The story clearly is known. Widely known. Even Norm Coleman in DC, knows. That widely known.

The income source, the failure in reporting - it is all there for STRIB, but not delivered to STRIB from Doug Tice's more favored source, Michael Brodkorb.

Go figure.

Here's what Norm Coleman did report, while not reporting "Blo and Go" income of the Norm Coleman spouse [click the image to enlarge, and the above TwoPuttTommy link gives this link for the full Coleman report form]

Perhaps there's a simple explanation, such as "Hays Company" or "Bell Phillip Television" is the owner/marketer/parent venture for "Blo & Go" "as seen on TV" but -- if not, then there should be a third line: BLO AND GO (SPOUSE) to accompany the other two.

You can see the high quality sophistication of the product planning and marketing, to fully appreciate the Coleman - GOP sobriety in things, from the website, here.

Next --- Trying to read body language is an uncertain thing, but I'd have to say Franken appears somewhat perplexed by STRIB's uneven coverage, judging by the picture Strib ran of him:

That tacky, tacky, super-tacky name and presentation, "Blo and Go." Perhaps Norm just did not list it out of sheer and total embarassment over the name. If you Google "Blo and Go," which after all is the product name chosen by the Colemans and their retinue, you will see some craigslist things that use the same term, and in a way that does no real credit to our Sen. Coleman or his spouse. He might have "overlooked" listing it, made a scrivening error, etc., because - he forgot the name???? Huh? Come on.

So, bottom line, where's STRIB when it comes to financial affairs of lil' Norm?

Playing favorites? In the GOP tent, more, and more, and more?

That's my guess. It's the appearance of things.

I see no real alternative.

Unfairness always is clear for what it is.

Franken is getting a screwing by that paper.

I did a search; Google = coleman "blo & go" site:

With that, I got two STRIB hits. Both the gossip column. Here's the second link.

Go figure.

I repeat, Al Franken is getting a screwing by that paper.

Norm is getting a free pass, a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, on an unreported business activity/income.

You think -- Maybe nobody's buying the little hummer, and it's a loss. Who's to say? Norm? You'd expect that, wouldn't you? Maybe it's the accountants.

Well, here's the link to the Wapo item the STRIB gossip column mentions but does not link to. The suggestion from Wapo coverage is that it's producing a cash flow. There is no cause to fail to report it, from what that coverage says.

________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Interesting, all over the blogs, where the story is discussed, there are none of the regular "anonymous" GOP trolls saying a peep. Total hands off, let it end. Interesting. Norm's minions being quiet - what's to be made of that? Cohesiveness? Plan and action? Central coordination, just as in Stalinist days of yore? What's up?

Beyond that observation, Blue man has picked up the thread, in two postings, and lloydletta had an interesting link over to another Blo-&-go touting site,

"Professional Results With Laurie Coleman's BLO and GO." It says that in the headline. It gives the above pic, and the item says:

After coming up with the concept and general design, she enlisted Hollywood PR man, Anthony Turk as her partner as well as actor/host Lee Reherman. Anthony Turk currently represents Lee Reherman as well as stars such as Eva LaRue, Adrienne Janic, Sunkrish Bala, Justin Chon, and many more.

I have not heard of a single one of these "stars." Have you? Staring in what, directed by whom, gaining which awards, again, give me the detail, Laurie - or Norm? What about DC stars? Any of them to feature?

From that LAsThePlace thing, it sure looks as if the product and its success are big to the Coleman family, something you'd expect Norm would have not neglected to report to the public in his filings, Laurie quoted as:

The BLO and GO is my first business venture. I studied dance for years with the Minnesota Dance Theater which eventually lead [sic] to runway and acting. The arts were always my passion and focus. I never thought that a business venture could be something that I was passionate about but I feel a lot of passion for this product because it is a part of me! [...] Currently we are working on the US market but soon we will be heading international. We are already talking with distributors who work in Europe, South America and Asia. No matter what part of the world you are in, women get this product and it is universal for all women. Pretty soon the BLO and GO will be everywhere.

Wow! Two billion Chinese, each with a personal BLO and GO. The entire Indian subcontinent. BLO and GO for Taliban off-turban styling, for the hair styling under every burqua. It is mind boggling, and Norm reports not a nickel's worth of business income. What's wrong with that man?

Finally, it looks as if several of Spotty's commentators hit on the Coleman reporting omission along with TwoPuttTommy - who had his say there also.

So, okay you GOP readers, the ones who jumped my praise of Abeler and Tingelstad for overriding the idiot's veto, what have you to say about the Coleman negligence in financial reporting and disclosure? Why the silence? Got both hands busy doing your hair - then buy a BLO and GO, and type a comment or two with the free hand.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today is the second day of the 2008 NFL draft. Yesterday, I was at the Sixth District DFL convention, and was reminded of the 1998 Draft.

Unlike the 1998 Colts --- With the first pick, the DFL Sixth District passes on Manning. Picks, instead, Ryan Leaf. We will win with Ryan Leaf all shout, wearing their Wellstone Green Ryan Leaf tee-shirts. Something to be seen.

Win with Leaf. Leaf is the one. DFL, DFL, DFL.

Manning has a good arm, a presence, but doesn't have Leaf's schmooze mobility. He has not seen the other side of the mountain, or did not imply that in any of his speeches.

Leaf's much better, in the pocket.

That's it in a nutshell, or check Larry Schumacher's live blogging [for St. Cloud TImes, the only newspaper covering the event].

Schumacher was set up to give all the exciting news as it happened, from Andover's Civic Center - Bunker Lake Civic Center, whatever it's called. I was sitting there, getting up to walk every so often, seeing all that Ryan Leaf green all over - the big Green Machine, with its war room in back. All the coaches wearing head sets.

Wellstone did the color proud. It has since lost some stature. But it is the color of a Leaf, until autumn, where most leaves are brown, dead, shriveled up by November.

The DFL draft event - Dan Erhart was there and James Norman was there.

And Bill McCarthy indicated to me that it was not he alone that favored Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning, but it was a general consensus. A done deal of "Labor" from years previously. And while Leaf had a career record going into the draft, so did Manning.

Something Different - Wholly Unrelated to the Quality of the Sixth District DFL's Decision Making

There's an interesting CBS 60 Minutes post online, about rampant corruption in Iraq. Leaders on the take. Having trouble quarterbacking a clean-up. I suppose the best thing is to not have a position on cleaning up such corrupt stuff, but to let the next administration come in and insist in the first two months in office they enunciate a firm plan for resolving it. That's a clear and winning leadership position, on Iraq.

It makes sense. You have no answer, or choose not to give one on the Iraq situation, then you say it's somebody else's problem, not yours.

Nobody would see through that.

Going into it, there were stat sheets. Where is Ryan Leaf now? See, here, here, here, here, and here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tinklenberg's taconite salesmanship is part of his revolving door [MnDOT, US DOT, and state DOT contacts], and it is in his shade of green.

That's currency green, the revolving door in the lobby, to the tune of $94,280.00 NRRI dollars to sell the stuff.

Currency green and not environmental green.

It is Astroturf green and not grassroots green.

The two NRRI items I linked to previously indicate the extent of his huckestering for "Mesabi Hard Rock" where the only practical limit he sees is not a health risk, but shipping costs -- and he has been quite active trying to devise ways to ship the mill waste all over the country, as those two NRRI items, here, and here show, if you read his own reporting in the appendices or if you page through the bulk of the reports. Shipping cost, not risk to public health, is his constraint. Otherwise his advocacy has been unconstrained. I don't know if he has grandchildren, but I suggest the, "You think it's safe, you say it's safe, you say you think it's safe, then put it in YOUR grandchildrens' sandbox." I don't believe any such thing has happened; and I bet Larry Zanko's and Mesabi mine managements' sandboxes have sand in them, not mine waste.

I hold April 4, 2008, correspondence from MnDOT, indicating that at the start of April I made a public data disclosure request; got a chicken-s. letter; and then a stone wall.

Ms. Sue F. Stein might as well have fallen from the edge of Michele Bachmann's flat earth, as having followed up on her "as quickly as we can" promise.

Here, read the Stein promise, just click to enlarge:

Did I believe Ms. Stein's "as quickly as we can" promise when I got it?


Have I forwarded in an email a link to this post to the Strib's reporter, Kevin Duchschere so he knows the inquiry exists?

Ya betcha.

Perhaps he could yank hard on Ms. Stein's chain. It might wake the woman up. STRIB doing that.

Myself ---- I'm still waiting ... Walking out every day to the mailbox.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

At the luncheon, the Taconite Titan had a Taconite Taco?

Kevin Duchschere, of Strib, reported today, 23 Apr. 2008, on Tinklenberg being confronted by Judge Miles Lord, a citizen we should all respect for his courage while on the federal bench, and most recently, as Duchschere, reported:

The past resurfaces for DFL candidate
Elwyn Tinklenberg ran into questions at a forum about the use of taconite tailings on roads while he led MnDOT.
By KEVIN DUCHSCHERE, Star Tribune - Last update: April 23, 2008 - 12:06 AM

Taconite tailings are seldom an issue in the Sixth Congressional District, where about 170 miles separate St. Cloud from the Mesabi Iron Range.

But taconite got dug up at a DFL Party luncheon forum Tuesday featuring congressional candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg, whose consulting firm advises a University of Minnesota research institute on potential uses (such as road construction) for the millions of tons of waste rock mined each year.

Former federal judge Miles Lord, who 30 years ago famously stopped Reserve Mining Co. from dumping tons of carcinogenic tailings in Lake Superior, distributed a letter at the luncheon and made statements essentially accusing Tinklenberg of helping spread "deadly taconite tailings" in Minnesota and across the country.

Tinklenberg defended the work, saying that the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota Duluth had tested the rock and found it safe, and that his role has been limited.

"It is not our project," he said. "We've only been asked to explore markets."

That Tinklenberg response in the last two quoted paragraphs, it sounds minimal and ancillary. The problem is the statements are not true. Tinklenberg is dissembling. He did much more than "explore markets." He's been trying to sell the junk all over the US of A. Moreover, Tinklenberg Group has gotten $94,280 for promoting the mine waste material as "Mesabi Hard Rock," and you should trust its safety too. And that NRRI "tested the rock and found it safe." That's straight out of the bull too. The test started December 2007, to see the safety dimensions - the public health threats - and it is a three year effort. It has just started, exploring the question of health and safety.

THE TRUTH: Tinklenberg Group, in exchange for cash, designed the promotional brochure.

Tinklenberg Group, in exchange for cash, designed the trade booth.

Tinklenberg himself, in exchange for cash, manned the trade booth promoting the stuff, safety studies not being done, the Judge in 1970's litigation having said it was unsafe to dump it into Lake Superior, because of the threat asbestos contamination raised with drinking water.

Here are NRRI document excerpt pages, (taken from reports you can download here, and here), proving the extreme role Tinklenberg Group, in exchange for cash, played in promoting the entire "Mesabi Hard Rock" effort at fobbing Big Steel's mine waste off on the unsuspecting public, without any due regard for safety and cancer and carcinogenicity problems or risks the stuff may have:

Going, like the Tinklenberg Group's memo said, to the highwaymens' trade shows and beating the Hard Rock drums, "a four minute promotional video, illustrating the qualities and applications of MHR," (cancer causation not included, after all, there's only so much you can put into a four minute video), and a booth design via a "Minnesota and Hockey theme ... [where] Visitors were treated to a chance to shoot a puck constructed from MHR aggregate, ...". And the folders and brochures were "reworked" and still came out looking like something green coming out of Linda Blair in "The Exorcist." Well, Elwyn, design must not have been your strong point. Booth and brochure - tacky and amateurish.

Whoa, that brochure is ugly.

And go the the linked NRRI reports, view the pic of the booth without geeks standing all around. It's really ugly too. Less obviously so in the picture with Elwyn and others standing around, ET pitching the material Judge Lord characterized as a health menace to the world. You can see, even with ET and others standing around, the lil' rink, where that MHR - Mesabi Hard Rock hockey puck could be slap-shot arould the trade fair by visitors, at visitors - think fast, heads up, all that.

And there's more -- confessing, with pride, to working the US and state DOT lobbying effort, to move the mine waste out of the Oberstar District:

As far as that Mesabi Hard Rock hockey puck that the first item touts, the Golden Jet says:

"It tastes like chicken."

And that opening quote, the one Elwyn Tinklenberg gave Strib, (Tinklenberg saying NRRI had tested the rock and found it safe), that's not true. The three year HEALTH AND SAFETY RISK TESTING began Dec. 2007, and is ongoing.

The jury has yet to be sent out, after the three years are up.

Prematurely, Elwyn Tinklenberg wants to pave the world with the stuff to get it out of Oberstar's district, at a profit to Big Steel, and he is beating the drums in exchange for cash to Tinklenberg Group. NRRI, per contracts with Tinklenberg Group, has paid the firm at least $94,280 over time, running from Tinklenberg's leaving his head highwayman status at MnDOT, to the present.

For "services."

SO --- The truth is largely if not precisely word-for-word as Judge Lord's published warning is reported to have said. Tinklenberg's role, also, is substantially what Judge Lord's published warning is reported to have said.

Tinklenberg. A key promoter.

In exchange for five-figure amounts of cash.

Part of what he was paid money for, was lobbying.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The criticism of Al Franken, sanely read, exposes the hypocrisy of the Minnesota Taxpayer League as a GOP front.

Or whatever that sorry orgainzation calls itself.

As best as I can make sense of the story, Alan Franken, Inc., is a personal corporation Franken uses in business dealings.

It appears he, or perhaps he and spouse, are its only "employees." I could be wrong on that. It could be him, alone.

The GOP publishes some California documents showing the accountant did the filing there and type of business is "Writing, Acting, Speaking Engagements."

I expect in New York the "corporation" does business that is little different.

As in California, it would be Al, contracting to act, write, or speak. (Surprisingly, while he does not represent that he can help anyone with getting financing for a highway, people give him money anyway.)

And then the public bureaucrats, who problematically (predominantly via union ties) seem affiliated with the Democratic Party, a millstone for it, and legislators do dumb things to overtax anything that either moves or stays still [Ramsey where I live had a city administrator wanting a "Port Authority" to be able to finagle additional taxation, while Ramsey has never had a port and did not have one while he had Bonnie Balach lobbying for it without the city council ever having passed any ordinance or resolution authorizing him or her to indulge in such mischief - a stealth bureaucratic taxing putsch is what it appeared to be from the outset].

Out of that insatiable will to tax outrageously, something like the current silliness surrounding Al Franken arises.

And the Taxpayer League is totally silent.

Totally silent about the injustice of the entire situation. No squealing. No bleating. Silence.

Go figure. Silence of the Lambs.

They must squeal when told to, but only when told to.

And I suppose those doing the telling have not said, "Go squeal," over the kinds of injustices that were done to poor Al Franken.

Taxing grasp was reaching manacingly toward the fisk of Alan Franken, Inc. Yet the Taxpayer League, they rally with Michele Bachmann, showing which side of the street they walk and who they street-walk for, with the initials GOP a hint.

If the Taxpayer League had any legitimacy, which they don't, they would weigh in on the Frankin side in the current situation - a personal corporation being taxed mercilessly, "fees" added upon taxes, and such, even after the fact is the corporation ceased to do any real business in California; and after the Frankens' decision to relocate to Minnesota to retire Norm Coleman, (bless that sensible and proper intent).

When it comes to forming and using personal corporations, Republicans do that every day of every week of every year. They know and understand the accounting and liability dimensions of using personal corporations better than Al does. Randy Moss probably has one or a few. Joe Mauer. Perhaps, perhaps not, but one of the papers from California, the accountant handled and filed it, Al having better things to spend time on.

Franken ceased doing anything in California, and let the registration lapse.

Republicans do that every day of every week of every year. They know and understand the accounting and liability dimensions of foreign corporation registrations in other states better than Al does.

Both California and New York have rapacious tax approaches to small businesses of that kind [Exxon Mobil, that's different, again, Republicans understand the differences better than Al does].

Taxpayer League bleating morons should criticize the policies, but instead they are silent. A dunce named Brodkorb misinforms people about a tempest in a teapot - because he wants the likes of Norm Coleman to remain in Washington as a blight on the national reputation of Minnesota.

And Alan Franken, Inc., probably has Al humming along with the ghost of George Harrison:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'cause i'm the taxman, yeah, i'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful i don't take it all
'cause i'm the taxman, yeah i'm the taxman

If you drive a car, i'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, i'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold i'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, i'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what i want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
'cause i'm the taxman, yeah, i'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'cause i'm the taxman, yeah, i'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me

And does the GOP admit that poor Al Franken is being unjustly haunted by The Taxman? It's their mantra, so you'd expect a pinch of consistency, wouldn't you?

Fat chance. Here's the drivel they spoon out: "WALZ, MADIA & BOTH SUPPORT MASSIVE TAX INCREASES"

With the bureaucrats in one camp, and the hypocrites in the other, why isn't everyone an independent?

That's what I cannot figure out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Posted today, a GOP blog voice about the Sixth District.

First, an excerpt, and the entire post is here.

Bachmann Outraises Tinklenberg, Olson
April 16th, 2008 • 11:53 am

The Associated Press is reporting that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised $346,000 for her re-election bid in the first quarter of 2008.

She has more than $1 million in the bank as of the beginning of this month, more than 10 times either of the DFLers who hope to take her on, Elwyn Tinklenberg or Bob Olson.

Tinklenberg raised $127,000 and had $102,000 on hand, while Olson raised $24,000 and had $112,000 on hand, after loaning his campaign more than $60,000.

It isn’t a stretch to say that interest in Tinklenberg and Olson is minimal at best. both candidates have flaws that the activists are having difficulty looking past. While I won’t paint this race as over, I’m perfectly willing to paint this as an uphill challenge for either Mr. Tinklenberg. I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Olson doesn’t stand a fighting chance even if the perfect storm developed.

I’ve talked with several DFL activists about Tinklenberg. Each of these activists initially prefered Olson over Tinklenberg but soured on Olson after he took the attack dog approach at a recent debate. These activists didn’t think highly of Mr. Tinklenberg, partially because of his career as a lobbyist, partially because of his “less than stellar” progressive history.

What caught my attention, whether a misedit, or a deliberate statement, the terminology, "I’m perfectly willing to paint this as an uphill challenge for either Mr. Tinklenberg." Was the intent to say "either Mr. Tinklenberg or Mr. Olson" but with an editing error?

More interestingly, I just like the truthful ring of "an uphill challenge for either Mr. Tinklenberg."

Meaning the pro-lifer, or the one who would not now overturn Roe v. Wade? The supporter of a marriage amendment, who now sees gay rights as okay? The one who "knowing what I knew then" would have voted for Iraq; but now agrees with his friends that something needs fixing with what's going on over there?

"Either Mr. Tinklenberg," the one from 2006 and what he stood for then, or the one from 2008 and what he stands for now; surprisingly the same individual.

Just standing differently. As if standing for something besides business for Tinklenberg Group is coincidental to much of what "either Mr. Tinklenberg" is to himself and others.

Writing again on Bob Olson's insight and leadership on wind energy issues.

I obliquely mentioned Olson's wind energy advocacy, here.

The candidacy inspired my interest in wind technology, as probably the soundest of the clean energy alternative proposals, and until I had seen mention of Olson's beliefs I had not thought much about it. On researching things, there is good cause to believe that unsubsidized wind power can be competitive with large coal combustion plants and other options for energy independence.

Sandia describes the LWST goal as:

The Low Wind Speed Technology (LWST) task supports public-private partnerships for multiple large wind system (turbines over 100 kilowatts) to achieve the goal of 3 cents/kWh in class 4 winds by 2012. The strategy for LWST builds upon industry partnerships initiated under the Wind Partnerships for Advanced Component Technologies (WindPACT) and Next Generation Turbine projects. New partnerships to catalyze industry adoption of component technology developments and emerging innovation are being supported through a series of three LWST competitive solicitations. Phase I was initiated in FY 2002, Phase II was initiated in FY 2003, and Phase III is planned for FY 2007. The LWST partnerships are cost-shared efforts with industry that concentrate on three technical areas: 1) concept design studies, 2) component development and testing, and 3) full turbine prototype development and testing.

The photo is from a Sandia website. The NREL's website also discusses the need for "low wind" performance achievements.

It appears that the 3 cents/kWh goal is close, from The Wind Turbine Company's initial efforts at a developing a trouble free commercial size downwind two blade HAWT (horizontal axis wind turbine). They have a few patents, with their key patent technology argued to overcome vibration problems with such a layout, and that with the blade and downwind configuration they can make a lower-cost turbine for the same performance as upwind three-blade designs that the Europeans have popularized. (see the opening photo)

The low wind initiative is timely because many of the prime wind farm sites are either built out substantially, or bought up or subject to options, etc., so that less promising sites will need to prove productive after that round of cherry picking.

Blade design and hub-gearbox imporvements promise lower cost or lower maintenance alternatives in the future.

The Sandia and NREL sites are quick returns from even superficial Googling.

Olson in an April 15, 2008 St. Cloud Times op-ed has quite recently sumarized and expounded on the general trend of wind power very soon approaching a cross-over point where it can be competitive, without subsidy or tipping fees or such:

Here we go again. Appropriately enough, an Associated Press article on April Fools' Day reported that another congressional committee just called in another bunch of oil executives this week and chewed them out, this time about $100-a-barrel oil. They do it every year or two and nothing changes. Instead of outrage, we need political courage.

If we want oil companies to do something, Congress has to do something. Tweak the Internal Revenue code, provide tax incentives and loan guarantee funds for sustainable energy. Wind energy is so efficient right now that it's cheaper than coal.

But we've got to get the energy producers over the hump to profitability. And, by the way, if you think wind energy can't possibly work because the wind doesn't blow all of the time, think again. There are existing technologies that efficiently and effectively address this issue.

We're all focused on the pain at the gas pump. But there are bigger numbers to worry about as well. Every day about $1.3 billion goes out of our economy to buy foreign oil. Yes, some of it comes back when other countries buy our assets and government debt. Still, we're sending about $500 billion a year out of the country for oil. That's twice the annual defense budget during the Clinton years.

I'm a bank owner and tax attorney. Economists tell me if we could keep that money at home and recycle it in our economy — six or seven times a year wouldn't be an unreasonable number — that's a $3.5 trillion impact. Keeping even a percentage of that money in our economy would let us get serious about health care for every citizen and other critical issues.

For example, we should be manufacturing wind towers and turbines in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.

Wind turbines and towers cost about $3 million apiece. Towers are being built in the United States, but the turbines, the huge generators that sit on top of the towers, are built in Denmark, Spain and India and shipped here for $150,000 shipping cost.

The 6th District can be the Silicon Valley of sustainable energy. We have everything we need. The Dakotas and Wyoming have the wind, but not the infrastructure. We're close to the resources and have the skilled work force, infrastructure and energy needs.

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman promoted a $900 million federal loan guarantee for a $2 billion coal-burning electrical plant on the Iron Range that would have produced 100 permanent jobs. Wind energy is cheaper than coal. And for only $25 million we could have a wind turbine manufacturing plant in the 6th District, creating 100 permanent, good jobs — economic energy from wind energy.

That's a major excerpt, but see the original item for the full viewpoint.

Others might not find the matter that inspiring, but to me, following up on Bob Olson's unequivocal advocacy, to learn the facts, has been both insightful and inspiring.

Whether he and vision, or Tinklenberg and connections prevail in getting DFL endorsement to oppose Bachmann, I have to say, nothing about Tinklenberg, his taconite tailings promotion, or his frequent mention of Jim Oberstar would be anything I would term either insightful, or inspiring. Hum-drum and banal are more frequent words that come to mind when I think of Elwyn Tinklenberg. But in opposing Michele Bachmann, many have said Tinklenberg should emulate her traits and positions, and the two words fit each of them.

Findings from the Campaign Finance Board.

The findings are presented online, here.

The Board's findings absolve Elwyn Tinklenberg for not registering with them as a lobbyist in 2008, on behalf of City or Ramsey, regarding its effort to gain a Northstar rail stop.

Make of it what you will. The matter is closed.

The complaint was narrowly defined, to a most recent 2008 matter involving only City of Ramsey, and did not reach to any earlier Ramsey matter where a total of $840,000 has been disbursed from Ramsey to Tinklenberg Group over time, 2003 to present.

Promoting taconite tailings was not at issue. No other municipality's situations were a part of the complaint. No train advocacy beyond the question of a Northstar stop at Ramsey was put before the board for review.

The process is clear if anybody else wants to call any other activity into question.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Franken workers comp situation in New York State - What's his corporation do?

It is distressing. This Google has a number of hits. Read each, a $25,000 fine, acknowledged as appropriate by Franken. This begs all the obvious questions.

If he's running in Minnesota, and all his business is in New York, what's up?

What's his business do?

What level of employees are involved? Educated elite professionals? I cannot see he'd have a roofing business using undocumented immigrant labor paid in cash, etc., in New York City, so what's his business background? What's his business do?

They say "comedian" and drop it. Background is something voters should be told, to make informed choices. Why hiding all that kind of reporting under a hat?

What business or reasons, other than running for Senate, does Franken have in Minnesota? Why not be in New York running for the Clinton seat? She's looking for other work, isn't she?

Jack, we know. He's disclosed detail about his background. Coleman and Franken are both mystery, stealth candidates. What does either really DO? Coleman is career politician, with a strange marriage situation. The Frankens both seem to be together these days in Minnesota. Jack we know about. Cerisi, before dropping out, we knew about. But Franken? Who is the guy? Does anyone have any good answers? His campaign is organized, but who is the candidate? That's what I want to know beyond the 1 minute, 2-minute, 5-minute well crafted stump speech.

The more we see of a candidate like Elwyn Tinklenberg, the more questions arise. Perhaps seeing that, Franken is wise to keep his real person hidden from voters.

What you see is what you get. We have not really seen anything to base a decision on yet. What you get is a package of hope, fashioned in stump speech sizes, later when the TV part of the campaign takes over, fashioned in voice-over soundbite sizes, feel good, don't worry, don't question, Al's good, for 15, 30, and 60 seconds worth of non-info. Whatever happened to press coverage? It cannot all be Rupert Murdoch's fault. Others killed the beast too, acting out roles.

So, bottom line: Who is Al Franken, besides running for now against Jack, wanting to run later against Norm. It takes ten seconds to figure all that out - and the press has given us no more. Workers' comp tax problems in New York State - you would think there would be a will to explain. Not so, just as with revolving door lobbyists wanting to go to Congress.

Is this in each instance evidence of a disdain of the electorate? I don't know, but the feeling in the gut is it is. The mentality of, "They're better off without explanations clogging up their minds, confusing them." Elwyn and Al, level with us. Give us explanations. Give us detail.

I went to the Al Frnanken campaign website, and took time to read around it. Basically it confiirmed my feelings - he's a good guy and would make a hell of a better Senator tnan Norm Coleman. I am not an Air America groupie, and so that resume thing means zilch to me. But, good guy. Good candidate. Would be a good Senator.

But Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, same thing. Good guy. Good candidate. Good Senator if elected. A longer time in Minnesota, each with a diverse background in different directions. Jack has a better feel for international justice for small nations. Been there, done that, not a tourist or reader's view. Franken has more of a feel for the entertainment industry, including publishing - books and newspapers - and TV.

With a foot in that camp reporting on Franken will not be too harsh.

Just, what's the story on the corporation Were employees responsible for scheduling guests, and backgrounding ideas and segments for his Air America [and perhaps syndicated] show?

Was that the business, workers being the writer's writers? If so, I can see workers' comp being an afterthought. Carpel tunnel syndrome at the keyboard, perhaps, cell-phone-ear, things like that, but no maimings in industrial machinery or between rail cars.

Yet, it is not for me to speculate. Bottom line, it is for Al Franken to explain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

PACT School - And the law.

The PACT school people before had bent rules to fit their fancy, and got slapped upside the head by District 11 for giving preferences to employee progeny, with it appearing that ultimately District 11 determined they were not worth all the time it took to consider them where the District had no real control, and they cut them loose to find the seminary-sponsor now calling itself a University, with all the church-state problems attendant to that because these people want their show to be run no way but their way, but they wish to continue sucking the public teat and not go private, where their wanting all that would be justified.

That said, I judge them harshly. Carins, DeBruyn, the bunch. It would be nice if they sold their building and moved.

I certainly hope there was an expeditious and just hearing today, the indication at the meeting being the 14th was the hearing date.

I hope Look and Dehen got a judge with balls, because the council had none.

The mayor was worse, at his bloviating worse, and is overdue for replacement by a ham sandwich, for all I care, it would improve things.

I understand he will be opposed. I bless any person opposing him.

But, the law is clear. The PACT school position is preposterous. Insultingly so.

Finally, I heard way too much of the name Jungbauer.

Every time I heard Jungbauer's name my meter unpinned and went mid-range. If he has any role in this I have a problem with that.

However, I see Look and Dehen 100% right, and I fault the remainder of the council and suggest all up for reelection, including especially Olson who took a hike, and except for Strommen, who is not going to run again anyway. Were she to run again I would support her being voted out with the other three.

I saw the PACT school effort from the start as problematic, but the entire Town Center impressed me as dumb from the start except for the Kuraks who wanted to cash out big time, so at least they had a good reason for supporting it.

Others, brain fart.

The PACT school, the crowded ugly buildings, the unneeded traffic lights, and the Norman palace cramdown - and the ramp in the middle of nowhere - all stupid. Felons and bank fraud and all to boot.

At least the Port Authority and the humungo additional tax burden that would accompany it, so far, has been forestalled. May that persist.

Here's the story on PACT, p.6, of 11/26/01 District 11 meeting, online here, two interesting paragraphs:

Mr. DeBruyn reviewed the school's history beginning with the first contract approved in the spring of 1994. Ms. Slegh explained that PACT offers a small school learning environment as an alternative to the traditional public school setting. Students tend to feel safer, learn more and experience a greater sense of community between students and teachers in a small school setting. Teachers can be more responsive to the needs of students and assess basic skills more frequently in this setting. Ms. Slegh reviewed PACT's test scores. Mr. DeBruyn stated that students are graded on effort as well as achievement and receive a score on their efforts in achieving character traits.

"Graded on effort as well as achievement and receive a score of their efforts in achieving character traits." Whoa. That's something to swallow. The people who cheat on the rules and invent disingenuous justifications for cheating, want to "score efforts in achieving character traits." The pickpocket trainer in Oliver Twist was encouraging efforts in achieving character traits also. Be like Mr. DeBruyn, or Mr. Cairns as a role model. Mock the law and the only way it can reasonably be read. Fire up the parents to pack a council meeting and clap for idiocy and dissembling. Teach the children.

This too, same page:

Dr. Wenzel questioned the amount of staff time and financial resources required to monitor PACT Charter School. Dr. Giroux met with PACT leadership. The district is involved with oversight of the contract on a yearly basis that requires time, energy and attention of district staff and the Board. The only control that the district has is whether or not it renews PACT's contract. His recommendation is to renew the contract through June 2003 rather than extend the term. He suggested that there are other agencies that might approach their involvement as a sponsor of a charter school differently. It was suggested that the PACT board might wish to explore other possible sponsors.

That's District 11 saying, these folks are a heavy load but one we will carry another year or two, but go find some other chump, please.

No other way to read that, is there?

Bethel now is chump de jour.

And Ramsey, siting them, helping with bonding hocus pocus Cairns-inspired, never mind fundamental truth, use the blighted land statutes. Ah, lawyers. And he would not trust an opinion, he said so, on a statute, except from another lawyer, he said that too.

And then there is the track record of bending rules, before this current instance, being above the law [as a character trait I suppose, in their own vision], online per Anoka County Union, June 20, 2002, a year after the District 11:

PACT Charter School in Anoka [the good old days] will no longer give preferential enrollment treatment to children of employees after the PACT School Board voted unanimously to remove the provision from its policies June 13.

The action came after a parent brought the practice to the attention of the charter school's sponsor, the Anoka-Hennepin School District, through a letter dated April 11, according to Dale Zellmer, District 11 director of supplemental programs.

The parent's action set in motion calls among Zellmer, PACT Administrator Dan DeBruyn and Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning officials. After consulting attorneys representing both District 11 and PACT Charter School, it was determined that the policy, in place since 1996, violated state law regarding admissions.

The woman alleged that at least one child has been first on the waiting list for four years, while children of employees and others have illegally bypassed him.

Minnesota law provides that once a sibling is accepted into a charter school, other siblings are given preferential enrollment treatment. But there is no such provision for children of employees.

DeBruyn seems a constant in all this. He was what they wanted, and was kept.

To set a character example, for the children.

I supposed they wanted diversity, by preferentially favoring employees' children. Outsiders are not diverse enough. And sibling preferences are just fine with them too, same story I guess, for diversity.

I say, diversity is best achieved by having separate parallel campuses, and that option should be their goal instead of eating up more of Town Center.

That would be Diversity, exactly as they say they want.
And that is straight. No hyprocrisy to it.

A diversity initiative, of sorts.

I think they'd be even more diverse with their entire operation in Oak Grove.

________FURTHER UPDATE________
Dec. 3, 2009: Due to ABC Newspapers archive management, one link for a quote in the UPDATE is now a dead link. However, a more recent ABC Newspapers report; this link; states that PACT school has resumed giving preferential treatment for enrollment to children of employees and volunteers.

The school holds lotteries to fill its enrollment vacancies and gives preference to siblings of current students and to the children of employees and volunteers.

It is unclear how the more recent item and the earlier item, from when PACT was in Anoka renting space from GOP Rep. Jim Abeler, and under District 11 sponsorship, are to be reconciled; absent error in reporting or in an about-face on the reform of preferential practices once sponsorship changes were attained by the charter school. It is possible the school, John Cairns, or others might have attained amendment of the governing statute to permit preferential treatment in ways that in June 2002 were believed to be contrary to statute.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ramsey Town Center, PACT school and non-sense positions, and good manners to teach the children.

I have yet to see the part of the last council meeting where the Matt Look lawsuit, with John Dehen representing Look, was on the agenda about PACT school. I caught a rebroadcast, but the tail end after that segment of the meeting.

First for fair disclosure, I have opposed the PACT school being in Ramsey and the bond mischief that aided it, from the City, given my very firm and unyielding feelings about total separation of church and state, and how I see that school with its Bethel Seminary [now calling itself Bethel University after having broadened its offering] sponsorship being in breach of that bedstone principle, not having its sponsorship with public school District 11.

I believe in the public schools.

Families without children do and should pay taxes to support the education of a next generation of civilized citizens. That is the purpose of public schools.

Rude high-handedness and phony arguments to avoid the reach of the law when it is clear is something we most certainly should not be teaching children, by example or otherwise.

My understanding from being at the work session before the televised general meeting is that the PACT school position on the statute at issue is laughably phony and interposed to delay and to mask the real motive, a desire for an autonomy that is not allowed that bunch, under Minnesota law.

The statute says such a school must, in circumstaces applying in the situation Look sues over, give preference to applicant children from the "town" in which the charter school is located.

The transparently false and disingenuous [teach the children more by what we do than what we say] position PACT school parents and administrators take - Ramsey calls itself a "city" and so they can thumb their noses at the undeniable intent of what the legislature imposed upon them in the course of allowing public funds to follow the child into the school.

If they want to go totally private, not be a charter school with funding aid from public money, then the story is different.

They deny a duty exists to favor Ramsey chilcren. Besides being bad citizens that way, these folks are denying that the law constrains them. They and their sweet young ones are considered above the law is the clear message they broadcast.

That is a false premise, and a very destructive thing to teach a bunch of children that society will rely upon in the future and that are presently being subsidized in their schooling, by society, in exchange for - the quid pro quo of - being schooled to reasonably read, understand, and follow the law.

They are dead wrong and will lose in court. In the course of their assuming such a false and clearly unjustified stance, they do damage to the minds of the children who see the drama unfolding. They are not teaching anything really sound, by posturing and engaging in their actions, which speak louder than words.

Now - I still need to see the rebroadcast of that segment of the meeting, to see if the behavior was rude or not. Whether rude or not is, however, not the major issue. It is being lawful and teaching a next generation to be lawful and not evasive and disdainful of rules that apply, whether liked or not.

I would rather speed and simply drive through that light at Sunwood and Ramsey Blvd. the unneeded one that stops you without any traffic the other three ways. I do not do that. I would not want to be unobservant and have a policeman ticket me. I also say, it's a dumb light, or the speed limit is too low certain places, but I don't say I am above a duty to comply. The duty is there. And clearly so.

And I would not tell a driver-training class of teenagers that if a traffic law is not liked, we simply disobey it.

Would you?

An interesting email - Scott Huhne of the Bob Olson Campaign.

On the Olson campaign you know in general it will tout the candidate. However, it says things I agree with very much:

I don’t just want “anybody but Bachmann;” I want a candidate with a backbone who has ideas that can change the world.

In the 6th District we have two candidates vying for the DFL Endorsement. I am supporting Bob Olson because he has the best chance to beat Michele Bachmann. He has the stances that will allow him to take votes away from Mrs. Bachmann, and beat her with those same votes. Bob has a strong, dedicated staff and enough money in the bank to give Mrs. Bachmann her ticket home. I work with Bob everyday. I have never seen a person more dedicated to a cause. I just imagine what he could accomplish in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Regardless of which way you’re leaning at this moment, Bob is the best and only candidate in this race who will stand up to the lobbyists and special interests in Washington D.C. Please join me in supporting Bob Olson for Congress, the only candidate who is firm in his convictions.

With the defects I see in "anybody but Bachmann" poster child candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg, I notice that this excerpt recognizes the identical things, indirectly. I have been saying the DFL can win with Olson and lose with Tinklenberg. The above excerpt somewhat succinctly says why. Backbone and views that can change the world. Awsome potential to be not only a competent replacement for Bachmann but outstanding.

Olson will stand up to lobbyists not schmooze with them as one of them. He is not going in as indebted to any special interest factions. Perhaps saying it all, "the only candidate who is firm in his convictions." He does not fashion and refashion himself and his views. He has always told people that core progressive committments are consistently underpinning his being a candidate for Congress, and it has consistently come across as true.

The "What's in it for him" question just does not pop into mind nearly as quickly as for Tinklenberg, nor "What's in it for her" comming to mind if thinking about stances and activities and career politician history of Michele Bachmann.

Perhaps that's the key, Olson is the one player in the game who has not been a career politician, with all that means and says against an individuai who has been one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bob Olson is insightful on wind energy and what it can mean. And for an interesting perspective ...

If you like impressive graphics, I have not downscaled or compressed the jpg file for the item if you clickover.

The Europeans are without any oil reserves to speak of, and we have largely exhausted ours already. There is a European Wind Energy Association and related, interesting website. The picture gives an interesting perspective on wind power, and its potential scale of importance, with it being an advertisement for the EWEA "No Fuel Solution" campaign.

The original image, as a one-meg pdf document, is here.

One reality should be noted. Wind power will not get rid of refineries but may play a role in more sensible uses of petroleum, a limited resource. Rather than burning it as fuel and adding to the atmospheric carbon load, petrochemicals add to other construction materials available to build capital plant and equipment. The composite blades of a windmill or composite parts of a lightweight and energy efficient aircraft such as Boeing's newest 787, require petrochemical production, for the resin binder in the glass or carbon reinforced composites used. We can burn fuel, turn petroleum into bomb explosives to be the sole world superpower and all that thinking has most recently gotten us, or we can use it to build. I'd love to have the chance sometime to be standing in the open air on that windmill, and would want the same safety strapping that worker has.

Credit Anoka County Watchdog for Archiving the item - it looks like, give Tinklenberg Group $115,000 for communication, organization, and marketing.

But the word "lobbying" and the word "Oberstar" are absent from this archived item, so it is in a sense unusual among some of the other Tinklenberg Group authored or related items to be found online. And it is fair to say, I have seen much of Tinklenberg Group online items often that do talk of contacting legislators, agency personnel, etc., without saying the "l-word." That seems to be the style of those Tinklenberg Group folks. Could it be a fig-leaf view of plausible deniability?

Anyway, the specific item from fall of 2006 is six and a fraction pages long, and looks to be a lot of vapor-and-vague-speak, which seems to boil down to glad-handing a lot, and "marketing." And when it is governmental funding sources you are going to "market" to, in major part if not wholly that, how exactly is that NOT lobbying?

It sure looks to me as if the L-word applies. I guess it depends on how YOU define "lobbying."

The link is here.

Successive p.1 sentences of the longer item do say, up front:

The following sections provide a general description of areas in which The TInklenberg Group will focus efforts in the develpment and management of a Joint powers Board.

Critical to building and maintianing an effect JPB is strong working relationships with members, potential members, governmental agencies and elected officials, community business leaders and the general public.

When you are developing "strong working relationships" with "govenrmental agencies and elected officials" to advance a project for which you are being paid over a hundred grand; what's the name for that?

Hint: a word beginning with the letter "L" and ending "ing". With a double "b" in the middle.

A very interesting thread about DFL progressive feelings in Minnesota's Sixth District.

Blueman has the thread going, this link.

It's his and rather than excerpting, I gave the link, go and have a look.

It seems the DFL regulars in MN 6 have too little respect for progressive sentiment.

I believe that there is too big a DFL segment that favors Elwyn Tinklenberg because of a view he would ask "How High?" if getting a call saying "Jump!" from the Minneapolis Central Labor Council AFL-CIO.

That might be viewed as Elwyn's highest virtue, from that DFL segment. Beholdeness. If there is such a word.

My feeling, if the progressives are ever going to get respect they will have to earn respect. That likely means that if the Elwyn Tinklenberg cram down succeeds, this November when a progressive gets to that line of the ballot having a choice between Michele Bachmann and Elwyn Tinklenberg, the progressive "stays home" for that line. Meaning leaving that line blank. And if it means Tink going down in flames because of such decision-making, bless him and the people with him behind the cram down.

It might get their attention, in progressive ways. It might take that to move the otherwise intransigent things in the way of progressivism in the MN 6 DFL.

More about Satveer Chaudhary.

On the internet, there is a "" at this link.

The lead photo there is the one I used above, showing Sen. C. at what appears to be a dedication of acreage for habitat conservation - a wildlife friendly thing that hunters and NRA people even understand. With accompanying text, excerpted:

Sen. Chaudhary appointed to Alliance for Sustainability’s national board

State Senator Satveer Chaudhary (DFL-Fridley) was recently recognized for his leadership in environmental and natural resources matters, as he was appointed to the national board of the Alliance for Sustainability. The Minneapolis-based organization was formed to bring about personal, organizational and planetary sustainability through support of projects that are ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane.

“It is a real honor for me to receive this appointment and to learn more about the issues surrounding sustainability in Minnesota and throughout the world,” said Sen. Chaudhary, who serves as chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “I look forward to bringing the concepts of sustainability to the hunting and fishing community in Minnesota, to ensure preservation of our natural resources for future generations.”

For more information, contact Sen. Chaudhary’s State Capitol office at 651-296-4334 or visit the Alliance’s web site at

I would vote for the guy for governor, in an eyeblink. The people in Minnesota State Senate District 50 are fortunate.

I live in District 48, we have Mike Jungbauer, R., as elected representative, who has, in contrast, spent his time co-sponsoring with Michele Bachmann a bill to shoehorn mandatory creationism into the Minnesota school science curriculum, as if it were the equivalent of science, via the "Intelligent Design" hoax and using what has become known as the "Santorum Language" after its instigator, the former Pennsylvania Senator that voters there had the good judgment to vote out of office. It appears the effort had no other purpose but to scuttle teaching of evolution [including genetics, since genome work is showing commonality of genes among diverse lower species and humans] because no self-respecting science teacher worth a pinch of dirt would put creationism into the classroom as if it were legitimate science and not religion.

My thought was if that insane effort ever got enacted, the response should be in one class session to bring in the text of the bill and have students and teacher discuss the wisdom of people in the legislature trying to define what is or is not science.

There is dumb and dumber, Bachmann was Jungbauer's cosponsor, and there is light and darkness. I see a Chaudhary bringing light, judgment, and wisdom to the job. I see darkness and divisionary "wedge issue" tactics elsewhere.

Again, I would vote for Chaudhary as governor in an eyeblink.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Okay, property rights people, put up or shut up.

State Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL, District 50, deserves support and respect.

I have heard a lot of talking the talk. Now I want to see them walk the walk. Merlin Hunt, Bob Ramsey, and Matt Look I believe will agree with me. I want more.

I want each to send a supportive email. If they mean things they have said.

Willing seller, willing buyer, a town with parochial aims wants Anoka County to scuttle the deal, but will not step up to the plate and buy the property for the same price.

Easy property rights slam dunk, right? Go for it tigers. Send the emails in support of Anoka Conuty's commissioners butting out of this willing seller - willing buyer thing, right?

Details: First, Anoka County Watchdog woofs true to his standards. He is consistent. He already republished a March 19, 2007 Pioneer Press article by Ramsey's good friend, Dave Orrick. Have a look at buyer, seller and officious intermeddlers, wanting the power to tax land to be preeminent over conservation, environment and hunting interests - as well as property rights of a seller wanting to sell.

I hope the Watchdog weighs in again on the issue, in its reemergence.

People owning wetland or other land worth preservation. DNR wanting to add the protective ownership - by buying at a fair negotiated price. There is no eminent domain taking at issue at all. Again, ready and willing seller; ready, willing and able buyer. And game preservation and permitted hunting on some of the DNR lands that would be expanded. The NRA should love it all too, eh?

But -- there's a villian. Anoka County, Town of Columbus. The right to tax private property and they can't tax the DNR. So - obvious, screw everyone else, kill the deal. Screw property rights, we are talking municipal taxing.

So all you vocal property rights folks - here's the email address for sending that groundswell supportive email traffic:

And anyone liking or caring about wetland preservation, habitat preservation, and natural resource management as a legacy preservation we should not ignore - you write also.

Here, and here, are the most recent stories, PiPress and Strib, respectively. April 5, 2008; in line with the Watchdog's republished item online from a year ago.

See the villians. See the righteous folks. Support the latter. Condemn the former.

And please do let Sen. Chaudhary know you recognize and appreciate his efforts to reform things. Here are his committee assignments, from his page on the legislative website.


Environment and Natural Resources, Chair
Agriculture and Veterans
Capital Investment
Finance - Agriculture and Veterans Budget and Policy Division
Finance - Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division

When I see one of the good guys, I feel I have a duty to speak up, saying he is one.

Sen. Chaudhary is one.

Pawlenty is garbage. Killing the Central Corridor, or playing games. His priorities are completely a**-backwards.

There's a Pioneer Press article, with much commentary, here.

Please read it and have a look at the comments.

The govenor, he bails out Danny's pet train, Northstar, in past years with slush fund millions, when it is not as needed and not as logical a piece in building a sound transit system. Then he slams a veto on something he appears to have given his word on, a veto on something that makes sense ridership-wise in ways Northstar cannot be justified.

Northstar will lose money. It will not be used enough to service the debt and turn a profit.

It will be a highly subsidized sop to developers along the route, who will want to tout it in building density once the market rebounds.

It will not have the ridership the Central Corridor would have.

When built, you can go downtown and then get a quick trip to Mall of America or the Airport. Zippo elsewhere, except by bus in traffic. You need more.

Build the key metropolitan spurs. Have a system started. THEN service the exurbs.

The man is a disaster.

I see there was a comment about fiscal responsibility - clearly aimed at criticizing Pawlenty's Northstar slush-fund bailout thing a few years back. The link for that is here. Pawlenty did not do that alone, but his support was the sparkplug. See, also: here, here, here, here, where the ill-fated Anoka County Vikings Stadium mess also is tied-in, and here, where they let the cat out of the bag - Pawlenty dumps on the central corridor because it's already in a built up region, but Northstar presents a clear opportunity for less built up cordial areas to be raped by land speculators with a seat on city councils, developers, and such; the last link stating:

Rail, however, will do more for communities than just move passengers back and forth. It is clear that the station sites themselves are spawning plans for multi-million-dollar residential and commercial development. In Minneapolis, hundreds of houses are being built along the Hiawatha line, and a $600 million housing and entertainment complex is being planned for the south end of the line. Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka and Coon Rapids have imaginative development plans around their proposed station sites.

A good example of this development is Anoka's planned Commuter Rail Transit Village at the tracks and Fourth Avenue North where there are three 50-acre tracts. One already has residential, another 50 acres is slated for redevelopment along the tracks and the third tract is owned by the city, Anoka County and Minnesota. The city has purchased 19 acres from the state, of which 13 are developable. There are plans to have commercial and small stores around the station, a potential of 800 new dwelling units of all types and redevelopment for small businesses with good jobs.

Without the commuter rail stopping and going from this station, chances are development in that area would have been mainly industrial.

Elk River also has plans for residential and commercial development around its proposed station site, including 298 townhouse units, Pullman Place, a day care, a 60-unit apartment and retail and office space.

The city also has land for industries with jobs where workers can live near by in new residential units. At the same time, older residents will be encouraged to live near the station, shop in nearby stores and take the train into the city for entertainment.

One of the more creative plans is coming from Ramsey where the proposed station will be part of an ambitious Town Center between Armstrong and Ramsey boulevards [indeed, hubris and ambition were never lacking from the start, Kuraks on council and owning the land and beating the drums, Haas-Steffen, Feges, self-confessed felon Nedegaard, Elvig, and all].

While the Town Center will have many attractions, the rail station will make it more glitzy. On the drawing boards for the Town Center are a business conference hotel, a winter garden with 2 1/2 acres under roof, retail shops, a performing arts center, ponds separating the commercial use from the residential, a business sector anchored by a medical campus and a senior complex with a range of services.

Make the Ramsey Town Center more "glitzy"? Who in creation wants Ramsey to be "glitzy"? Town Center Tom Gamec? Who? The idea is repulsive. It is a John Feges legacy, and John's gone.

Again, Central Corridor makes sense, Northstar is a sop to Crabgrass prospering. Its time would have come, in due time, but pushing it as it was had more to do with land speculation and Crabgrass than good sense. And, where there's a lack of good sense there's Tim Pawlenty. Dan Erhart's name is mentioned a lot too, in the linked items.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


This is Elwyn Tinklenberg's version of the Hard Rock Cafe. The Mesabi Hard Rock, he calls it. He calls it that while lobbying at the federal level. All of his denials of being a lobbyist at the federal level are proven false. He knew the truth when he took the microphone in Anoka that one Sunday, and he did not tell the truth. He split hairs over the meaning of "lobbyist" as commonly understood, vs. as used in a statute. The question was whether or not the man is a revolving door lobbyist, for cash. NRRI gave him $94,280.00, in fees, and here's one of his required reports. I call it "The Tinklenberg Smoking Gun Lobbying Proof."

Please ask the man what he would call it.

It is short.

It is to the point.

Elwyn personally went to DC. He went there to lobby.

Many interesting words in such a short item. My take on the most interesting - use of forms of the word "continue," or other language such as "still interested" all evidencing an ongoing thing, as in, this is not the first time it's happening, folks:

In June 2007, The Tinklneberg Group staff continued work on advocating at the congressional level on behalf of the Mesabi Hard Rock project providing congressional updates, coordination with Congressman Oberstar's office, and attending meetings in Washington D.C. Elwyn Tinklenberg traveled to Washington, D.C. for the MN Traisportation Alliance Fly-In and met with several key leaders about the project, including Congressman Jim Oberstar and Bill Richard, who continue to be supportive of the efforts. Additionally, Elwyn met with Jason Tai from Congressman Lipinski's office to discuss work with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Congressman Lipinski continues to be supportive of the concept of the Illinois DOT using Iron Range aggregate. While Illinois is having a difficult legislation session, IDOT has indicated to Elwyn that they are still interested in doing something this year using Iron Range aggregate in a demonstration project.

It is interesting how the name Jim Oberstar shows up in Tinklenberg communication with people who are paying him money or who he wants to pay him money. Twice in one paragraph in reporting to NRRI. NRRI is paying him money.

The man is also lobbying the Corps of Engineers, more federal level lobbying of the kind he says he's not been up to, and his aim is to induce the Corps to use the ill-tested stuff in its massive public works projects. What's he envision? Ship it off the Iron Range to New Orleans, to rebuild the levies?

Again the word "continue" interestingly shows up:

Conslutants at The Tinklenberg Group continue to explore additional avenues and markets for the Iron Range aggregate, and have met with [...]

Also, we learn that Twin Cities residents have cause for worry.


Additionally, staff from The Tinklenberg Group has been meeting with contractors, construction companies, aggregate users and others who are considering using the product in a major demonstration project in the Twin Cities metro area.

Okay Mr. T, We are not "fools" anymore. So give some disclosure - WHAT major demonstration project in the Twin Cities metro area is being cooked up? Bedding rock along the Northstar Commuter Rail line? At that Northstar stop you are trying to snag for the city council in Ramsey? Bedding rock for the Twin Harbors - Twin Cities high speed rail, Duluth to metro, with rail bed "improvement" needed if high speed is part of the selling? Something else? Paving in the I-35W bridge rebuild?

What about that three year health study that has just started at NRRI? Shouldn't it be concluded first?

Isn't that what the precautionary principle is about?

Finally, here is text of an email urging urgency in getting to me even more recent reporting of Tinklenberg Group to NRRI. The newest stuff is expected to fit into this item's general scenario, like a hand in a glove.

And this is no - glove don't fit you've got to aquit O.J. scenario. The man is nailed dead to right, by his own hand-in-glove effort for cash. Here is my email to NRRI public data disclosure officials.

PUBLIC DATA REQUEST -- I apologize for pressing but I believe the most recent TTG reports, as they stand, might be very relevant

Susan McKinney & Denise Endicott, NRRI-

The subject line says it all.

See the attached.

It is a smoking gun - Elwyn Tinklenberg is lobbying aggressively at the federal level and has publicly denied this in the course of running for Congress.

With a DFL endorsement convention days away, it is crucial that I get the most recent Tinklenberg Group reports they made to NRRI on as expedited basis as possible.

That means detataching and providing the Tinklenberg Group reports from the currently pending full draft item, as Susan and I have discussed in earlier email. That would not involve anything Larry Zanko would need to have input on, and hence would not involve unjustifiable delay. It is an existing record, NRRI holds it in a convenient form to provide me later today, and the need to see it is manifest.

Doing that - cutting loose the most recent Tinklenberg Group reporting to NRRI -would scuttle any and all question over whether Elwyn Tinklenberg and his campaign people are being given a chance by NRRI at rewriting history.

That should be important to the integrity and credibility of your campus people.

There is no reasonable cause for delay.

Moreover, there is no cause to believe more recent activity of TTG and its principal is not in line with the confessed lobbying the man has personally been doing, while he and his campaign are denying his actual status. Again, see attached.

Thank you for your immediate attention and help. Note I am cc'ing this. I will probably post the attached on the Internet. I intend that option for the other things I now request on an expedited basis. I will leave any notice to the press from either of the congressional campaigns to their discretion. I am affiliated with neither of them. I am a voter in Minnesota's Sixth District, and I would like the DFL to have every chance to avoid error. Again, thank you.

Eric Zaetsch

cc: Tinklenberg Campaign
Olson Campaign
Jerry Hiniker

And may all this grow legs with the mainstream media. It should. It is a true public interest question. Perhaps Miles Lord or some other responsible person could do some pushing. There are charities and advocacy groups concerned with mesothelioma. It deserves circulation and attention beyond the blogs.

Is this what the Democratic Party stands for, or should it make an effort to cleanse abuse, and seize the moral high ground?

The post headline poses the question. Here, courtesy of a Strib past AP wire service story, is the context for, "Who is the party," and "Who is the DFL in Minnesota," types of questions, with the item extensively excerpted, below:

Brother of Louisiana's indicted Rep. Jefferson charged in unrelated New Orleans bribery case

By CAIN BURDEAU , Associated Press
Last update: April 2, 2008 - 2:22 PM

NEW ORLEANS - The eldest brother and political strategist of indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson has been charged with giving payoffs to a school-board president — a bribery case apparently unrelated to the one against the congressman.

In a federal indictment handed up Wednesday, Mose Jefferson is accused of giving $140,000 to help secure about $14 million in contracts to bring a computer-based teaching system to Orleans Parish schools. He is charged with bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

The indictment opens a new chapter in the precipitous fall of the Jefferson Democratic machine, a former juggernaut in New Orleans' ward-based politics. William Jefferson is accused of using his congressional office to leverage bribes and lucrative business deals from companies seeking to do business in Africa.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the indictment of Mose Jefferson strikes "at the heart of the corruption which has plagued and sometimes severely impaired our democratic and educational institutions."

[...] The alleged recipient of Mose Jefferson's bribes is Ellenese Brooks-Simms, former president of the Orleans Parish school board. Last June she admitted taking about $140,000 in bribes from a then-unidentified businessman and became one of 33 people convicted in a sprawling investigation into school-system corruption and misspending.

Letten said Wednesday that Mose Jefferson gave Brooks-Simms the money to get her help in winning school board approval of contracts for "I CAN Learn," a computer-based teaching system owned by JRL Enterprises Inc. of Jackson, Miss. In all, Mose Jefferson helped JRL secure about $14 million in contracts, Letten said.

Letten said Mose Jefferson's case is unrelated to the one against William Jefferson, who faces trial in Alexandria, Va., on 16 counts of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice. There are some ties, however.

Mose Jefferson ran B.E.P. Consulting Services, which JRL Enterprises paid $913,000 in consulting fees to.

B.E.P. also was the firm William Jefferson allegedly steered bribes to for his help in setting up African deals.

William Jefferson was also a major supporter of JRL Enterprises' products in Congress, reportedly working to get at least $45 million in congressional earmarks for the company, according to The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. [...]

Related questions --
Who are you? What will you stand for? What won't you stand for?

Monday, April 07, 2008

A retraction. A MnDOT sponsored 2001 bridge study on the I35W bridge apparently did not consider approach spans.

Earlier today, here, I published about MnDOT studies available online, and quoted the abstracts of three items started and finished during the time Elwyn Tinklenberg headed MnDOT.

From the abstracts, and because I lack an engineering background as I noted, I believe I reached an improper conclusion.

I want to qualify that nothing I wrote was factually incorrect, as to what was said online. My opinion was stated and argued. Upon learning more, I have altered that opinion. Fairness requires that I explain why I now am not willing to cast any blame upon Elwyn Tinklenberg based on how I now understand the facts.

I mentioned three studies. One was MnDOT Final Report 2000-16, 296 pages in length, which in early pages indicated it dealt with a totally different kind of bridge. This possibility I had mentioned, and as best as I understand things now, this report is not relevant to the I35W bridge, MnDOT bridge 9340.

A second report, MnDOT Final Report 2002-06, was a general study of instrumentation and monitoring possibilities, 111 pages long, and may be indirectly relevant. But I cannot see it leading to any negative conclusions.

The key item -- MnDOT Final Study 2001-10.

This item considered the actual bridge that fell. It noted that fatigue crack expectations based on design load presumptions and not on actual load conditions drew a worse picture than study measurements demonstrated.

Most importantly, the central span, alone, was studied and the approach spans dismissed in initial pages of the report. Upon reading that, I am posting this retraction.

The report is 89 pages long including introductory pages. The executive summary opens, at p. ix, stating:

Bridge 9340 is a deck truss with steel multi-girder approach spans built in 1967 across the Mississippi River just east of downtown Minneapolis. The approach spans have exhibited several fatigue problems; primarily due to unanticipated out-of-plane distortion of the girders. Although fatigue cracking has not occurred in the deck truss, it has many poor fatigue details on the main truss and floor truss systems. Concern about fatigue cracking in the deck truss is heightened by a lack of redundancy in the main truss system. The detailed fatigue assessment in this report shows that fatigue cracking of the deck truss is not likely. Therefore, replacement of this bridge, and the associated very high cost, may be deferred.

Strain gages were installed on both the main trusses and the floor truss to measure the live-load stress ranges The strain gages were monitored while trucks with known axle weights crossed the bridge and under normal traffic. Two- and three-dimensional finite-element models of the bridge were developed and calibrated based on the measured stress ranges. These finite element models were used to calculate the stress ranges throughout the deck truss.

The peak stress ranges are less than the fatigue thresholds at all details. Therefore, fatigue cracking is not expected during the remaining useful life of the bridge. The most critical details, i.e. the details with the greatest ratios of peak stress range to the fatigue threshold, were in the floor trusses. Therefore, if fatigue problems were to develop due to a future increase in loading, the cracking would manifest in a floor truss first. Cracks in the floor trusses should be readily detectable since the floor trusses are easy to inspect from the catwalk. In the event that the cracks propagate undetected, the bridge could most likely tolerate the loss of a floor truss without collapse, whereas the failure of one of the two main trusses would be more critical.

Then, the report again at its pages 1-3, indirectly mentions the approach spans and problematic concerns about them, but not in a way that raises a major red flag notice:


Bridge 9340 supports four lanes in each direction (eight lanes total) of I-35W across the Mississippi River just east of downtown Minneapolis. The Average Daily Traffic (ADT) is given as 15,000 in each direction, with ten percent trucks. Bridge 9340 consists of a deck truss and steel multi-girder approach spans built in 1967. The deck tmss, shown in Figure 1, has a center span of 139 meters, north and south spans of 80.8 meters and cantilever spans of 11.6 and 10.9 meters. The bridge was designed using the 1961 American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) Standard Specifications [I]. At that time, unconservative fatigue design provisions were used. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, (AASHTO) fatigue design rules were substantially improved as a result of research at Lehigh University in the 1970's [2,3].

The approach spans have exhibited several fatigue problems; primarily due to unanticipated out-of-plane distortion of the girders. Although fatigue cracking has not occurred in the deck truss, it has many poor fatigue details on the main truss and floor truss systems.

Stress ranges calculated using the lane load as live load are greater than fatigue thresholds for many of the details. The poor fatigue details in the deck truss include intermittent fillet welds, welded longitudinal stiffeners and welded attachments at diaphragms inside tension members. These details are classified as Category D and E with threshold stress ranges 48 and 31 MPa, respectively.

The design analysis, using the AASHTO lane load in all lanes, shows design-live-load stress ranges in the truss members much higher than these thresholds. Design-live-load stress ranges were greatest, up to 138 MPa, in members that experience load reversal as trucks pass from the outside spans onto the center span. The predicted average life at that stress range is between 20,000 and 40,000 cycles. With 15,000 trucks per day crossing the bridge in each direction, these details should have cracked soon after opening if the stress ranges were really this high.

The actual stress ranges can be determined by instrumenting the bridge with strain gages and monitoring strains under both a known load and open traffic. Fortunately, the actual stress ranges are much lower than these design live-load stress ranges. Consequently, the fatigue life is far longer than would be predicted based on the design-live-load stress ranges. The difference between actual and predicted stress ranges is the result of conservative assumptions made in the design process. The primary reason is that the traffic on the bridge is 90 percent cars and weighs a lot less than the lane loading, (9.34 kN/m). The lane loading is approximately equivalent to maximum legal 356 kN trucks spaced at about 38 meters apart.

The lane load may be appropriate for a few occurrences during the life when there are bumper-to-bumper trucks in all lanes, and the bridge should be designed to have sufficient strength to withstand this load. However, a few occurrences of loading of this magnitude would not have a significant effect on fatigue cracking. In fact, it has been shown that essentially infinite fatigue life is achieved in tests when fewer than 0.01 percent of stress ranges exceed the fatigue threshold [4]. Therefore, only loads that occur more frequently than 3.01 percent of the time have an effect on fatigue. If there are 15,000 significant load cycles (trucks) pcr day, any load that happens less frequently than daily is irrelevant as far as fatigue is concerned. In observing this bridge closely over the period of more than a year, the authors have never seen a condition where there were closely spaced trucks in each lane.

That is vague and inconclusive language to me. The remainder of the study appears more dismissive of worry than cautionary. The ultimate conclusions at the end of the study are not extreme, but precautionary. Much of the report explains that some conservative design presumptions were not bourne out in actual loading experience during the study.

In summary, the most recent forensic work indicated it was a failure in one of the approach spans that ultimately caused a total failure and collapse. That consideration appears to have been entirely outside of the scope of this study, which is focused on the main span.

From the report, as best as I can read and understand it, Elwyn Tinklenberg would have had no direct notice of cause to worry about the bridge possibly failing in the way it appears, so far, to have failed.

Again I disclaim engineering expertise. However, as best as I can read the report it did not give notice of cause to worry as much as cause to monitor and inspect carefully.

The issue of insufficiently thick gussets, noted after the collapse, was there to be seen by these professionals doing the study - and their not noting it is an indication that until there was the failure and the forensic attention was heightened, there was not notice of the problem at MnDOT management levels unless and until someone in the field would have noticed the error - something that went unnoticed and undetected during building and since the span was built in 1967.

The study begs a host of questions, mainly, why were the two outer appraoch spans not part of the study. Also, if strain guages were placed on the structure, what would they be measuring except differences between the bridge in an unloaded static state and under usage loading - so that if the structure were inadequate [gusset thickness considerations], or overloaded in a static, at rest state [repaving as an increase in static loading], would those things have shown up in the strain guage measurements of differences between static and dynamic loadings? Those are my immediate questions of the entire study. However, I see no critical error nor major cause to fault Elwyn Tinklenberg arising from the text of this particular I35W span study at this point. It was done as it was, and focused as it was for reasons I do not know and cannot find fault with unless I knew other things which might contradict the impression that the report gave no red-flag notice.

Coming into the job years after the triple-span was built, and knowing what this report said, any reasonable person in Elwyn Tinklenberg's position heading MnDOT and being as he was without an engineering background (hence, having to rely on staff expertise), would likely have found this report more reassuring that the situation was under control than suggestive of a threat that the bridge was in imminent danger.

That is my sincere belief now, having read much of the study and understanding it as best as I do, and not being an engineer either.

Others more skilled than I am might read the report differently, or have a wider factual background for decision, and might see the report as more suggestive of a need for caution. That is why I believe it should be fully studied and questioned.

However, as best as I can read things, I at present stand by what this post says - I see no notice given Elwyn Tinklenberg at the time he headed MnDOT, based on what this study says, that he faced any imminent threat of that bridge falling during his watch, or within five years of when he left MnDOT.

That is all I can say, for now.