consultants are sandburs

Saturday, October 31, 2009

WOW. The cordial, surviving, prosperous, reliable, multi-branch Bank of Elk River named "business of the year."

Having most recently branched into Ramsey, Anoka County, where I live, this family owned operation dating to the 19th century ["almost 125 years of continuous service" as the website says - with the intent to serve future area generations] has expanded floor space of its Main Street headquarters in downtown Elk River and added branch outlets since 2000, while other community banks have had rockier times. Now the folks have been recognized as "business of the year" by the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce, as reported by the Star News, per the screenshot taken from this link. There will be a dinner, ticket details are given on the screenshot (as always, click to enlarge and read), and the hope would be the local mayors, council members, State Senators and Reps in the bank's service area all will attend.

Perhaps even Michele Bachmann might fly in for the event:

Eric Black at MinnPost reports more Tarryl Clark support. Al Franken on board means Franni agrees, and that's important to me.

Franni Franken has seemed to me to have been a good anchor for Al when in show biz.

I expect she was helpful for him to have not developed a show biz head. That and his own good sense. But two heads full of good sense always is better than one alone.

The Eric Black - MinnPost Oct. 29 story is this link.

I have not tried to track down whether there has been any formal Franken press release (Black's reporting does not reference one). That means the criteria he used are unknown to me, but can be fairly well anticipated: A legislative record of leadership and ability to work effectively even under the burden of a Pawlenty governorship and the hand thus holding the veto pen, a record of being an avid and skilled campaigner knowing how to contact and relate to people in a diverse Senate district, skills now expected to serve well in doing the same thing in Minnesota's entire Sixth Congressional District rather than in only a part. A stance on issues fairly much more moderate than we can expect Franken in the Wellstone seat to display over his six or more years in the Senate; but one likely to gain traction in a congressional district that was closely divided in both elections where Bachmann twice took only plurality victories, never gaining anything near to majority voting.

And a Clark nod is not necessarily pejorative of the other DFL hopeful, Maureen Reed.

We can guess Franken might favor Clark as the more electable of two well qualified candidates (either of which would clearly be a vast improvement over the statewide embarrassment Michele Bachmann has made of herself and the District).

Briefly, Black wrote:

DFL elected officials -- including now Sen. Al Franken -- continue to flock to the campaign of state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who hopes to take on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the fall, but who still faces Dr. Maureen Reed for the DFL endorsement and, potentially, in a DFL primary.

An invitation to a Minneapolis house-party fund-raiser for Clark next month lists the following members of the "honorary host committee" for the event:
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minnesota Sen. Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Sen. Scott Dibble of Mpls, state Rep. Frank Hornstein of Mpls.

[...] It goes without saying how much DFLers, and even the national Dem donor base, would love to make a serious run at Bachmann's seat next year.

[italics added where Black names names] That's the gist of what Black wrote, but if you want a look at the entire item, it is, again, this link.

Strib has parallel coverage.

More bank closures - this Friday's bloodletting brings it to a nationwide total of 115.

Strib carries AP wire feed reporting, this link.

If Jimmy Stewart "It's a Good Life" local banking is all it's cracked up to be - with readers owning and operating small businesses being better positioned than I am to guess at that; how is the "orderly" folding of failed local banks into other situations being handled? What objective criteria are officials using?

For State chartered banks, many own a share. When the Kiffmeyer-Otsego bank was put under, Central Bank of Stillwater was tapped to step in - and Commerce Dept., the Mpls. Fed, and the FDIC each had some kind of a role in deciding and orchestrating all that.

Would any reader with knowledge of how these things get done, who's picked to pick the bones, etc., please either post an explanatory comment or send an email - see the sidebar for the address.

I confess, it is all quite murky and mysterious to me. Who gets a shot, who does not, does the favored bone picker have very thickly capitalized status, or if that's not the deciding factor then what decision criterion or criteria hold sway?

Is it a case of turning off the lights and first hand at the money on the table takes? I feel ignorant of facts regarding something happening that is very important in long-term community and statewide consequences; and that makes me feel uneasy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Has Michele Bachmann been trying really hard to stash an entire VA clinic inside one of Mary Kiffmeyer's OREOs?

Well, properly speaking it would not be Kiffmeyer's, but Kiffmeyer's Bank's. And that might need a bit of explaining.

Crabgrass looked at the VA clinic situation before and the apparently strong Bachmann effort to have the thing sited in her district with Elk River apparently being favored by her, here.

And Crabgrass has reviewed closure of the Kiffmeyer Bank, here. (She signed key last-gasp documents with the Minnesota Fed as president of the bank holding company, if you've forgotten).

But how do these have anything in common, and what's this about sweet stuff, OREOs?

Elk River's leading weekly newspaper, in an item written today, Oct. 30, 2009 by the paper's Editor, this link, notes:

Riverview Community Bank in Otsego and Anoka has been shut down by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and re-opened as Central Bank with 16 other branches including one in Coon Rapids and another in St. Michael.

The financial institution’s doors were closed Friday, Oct. 23 and [...] bank examiners worked into the night to comb over the books and complete the transition from one community bank to another.

The state agency appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver, which in turn entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Central Bank to protect the depositors. [...]

One area in particular that showed up on bank records was a line item bankers refer to as OREOs or Other Real Estate Owned. OREOs are a fancy way of saying assets the bank owns after they have been foreclosed upon.

Riverview Community Bank went from having $849,000 worth of OREOs on June 30, 2008, to $7,182,000 by the following summer. By then the bank had been issued a cease and desist order from the FDIC. The six-year-old bank, which had added a branch in Anoka along its journey, was ordered to clean up its unsafe lending practices. But there was speculation in the community it was already too late.

As of March 31, the bank’s commercial real estate portfolio was 11 times its total capital — more than twice what is considered safe by banking experts. [...]

Central Bank, which has $430 million in assets, has recently acquired two other failed banks.

[emphasis added] Who picked Central Bank to pick over the bones? The guy in the middle, we know he did not, because he does not work for the Commerce Department.

"So you're from the Commerce Department. I'm not on that payroll. FDIC guy, here, says Central Bank steps in. Who's Central Bank? Why them?"

An apology to readers - in posting originally I omitted the link to the Star News item, which I corrected along with bolding in the above text, giving this link. Also, while the paper is headquartered in Elk River (506 Freeport Ave., Suite A, Elk River, MN 55330 -- with email name "") and seems to have Elk River news as a primary focus, the paper touts coverage reaching "Elk River, Dayton, Ramsey, Otsego, Rogers, Zimmerman, Minnesota." Jim Boyle is identified in reporting as its Editor. Jesus with the two suits is not my creation nor Star News'. It has been noted as prominently displayed wall art at the failed bank's Otsego headquarters, this link. I only speculate one is an FDIC suit, the other a Commerce Department suit. Interchangeable as to which is which? That, I could not say.

Jobs that can kill you prematurely, with a long painful death spiral, are not quality jobs - even where jobs are scarce as on the Iron Range.

[click the above image to enlarge and read] So, would you willingly trade decades at the end of your life for today's and next week's paycheck? If the trade-off risks were known with greater or lesser degrees of certainty would that influence your considering the risk-benefit balance? Go figure.

It certainly would be good to see Iron Range politicians and DFL governor wannabes Rukivina and Baak get into this situation with a forceful and determined two pronged position to first of all get to the bottom of the facts about what exact risks exist; and secondly with a commitment that it will not be studied to death without real reform being implemented.

Yes we need at least one more study where samples are taken by disinterested parties and tested by other than industry sweetheart testing outfits. But then somebody has to act to protect the health of workers, and with taconite tailings being promoted more and more widely as aggregate for paving and other concrete operations, to protect the general public.

If it is the minerals in the bulk taconite material itself that present the actual hazard, and not trace amounts of asbestos as is always given out as the industry and affiliated party version of truth, then how much is a four million dollar study that from the start ignores the question of the hazard of the main materials really worth?

We truly need a new sheriff in town because the current one's been compromised, if the Minnesota Dept. of Health is not looking at the entire picture, especially the taconite material itself, tons of which are being transported out of the Iron Range for paving purposes in other locales.

Here, with a big hat tip to Twin Cities Daily Planet, is the latest story I am aware of on topic, presented above first via the opening screenshot, and then below by limited further excerpting of a paragraph or two.

Here is a very sobering excerpt, especially for those off the Range, but having the road in front of the house blacktopped with taconite tailings aggregate used:

Asbestos: no single definition

Scientists, regulatory agencies and companies have differing definitions of asbestos, Ramachandran said.

The outcomes are different when each group counts asbestos exposures, he said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines an asbestos particle as being at least 5 micrometers long, and having a length three times its width.

This definition does not take mineralogical aspects into account, Ramachandran said. Taconite fibers have a similar shape to asbestos and fit this definition.

The taconite fibers may have similar health risks to asbestos, but are not counted as asbestos by mining companies.

And then there is silica [quartz] dust as an added hazard apart from the fibrous taconite main material and from varities of "asbestos," Daily Plantet reporting:

The quartz level on the western Mesabi Range is around 55 to 60 percent, according to the results of a 2001 study by University of Minnesota researcher and geologist Lawrence Zanko, who took [a mere] 18 taconite samples from five mines in the area [and had all testing done by only a single firm, one some contend is a sweetheart lab for the mines].

MSHA's limit on silica was created in 1973 at the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, and was designed to limit exposures to.1 milligram per cubic meter over eight hours, the Department of Labor said in a written statement.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists now recommends a 25 microgram (1,000 times smaller than a milligram) exposure limit, but MSHA's limit remains unchanged.

In terms of testing lab survival and prosperity, any messenger consistently bringing bad rather than good news could be subject to a "Kill the messenger" response. Other replacement messengers can be found. Not that such potential wrongful motivations can be proven to have yielded tainted or false data in the recent past, but neither can a study be proven absolutely free of bias or taint. Study conclusions are only as good as sampling and testing protocols and bad data in a study makes it a bad study. It is always a worry for which no precaution can be a 100% cure. But using multiple testing labs, and overlapping samples so that some are tested by multiple labs, plus getting more than eighteen samples, are all steps that could have resulted in more reliable results for the mentioned Zanko study.

In defense of what was done, infinite money can with infinite time yield much, much more data; but not necessarily a provably better end result; and Zanko was constrained to optimize his effort based on the funding available.

But then neither Zanko nor others should go about saying "Zanko proved this and that is safe" when another three year study of safety is in fact not yet concluded. When concluded, it can be said to have yielded best currently available results; but not perfect results, nor can it be said to have absolutely proven taconite tailings in paving in front of my home to be hazard free. Tests cannot do that, and interpretations are always probabilistic and not absolute.

For the entire story thread in one place, please read the original report, again, this link.

IEEE PES current issue is an update focus on wind power.

Click to see the enlarged page-size image. You can google the IEEE to get a flavor of who they are, with the PES being its Power Energy Society special interest group - the power grid engineering profession mainly, motor and generator design and production engineers, high voltage and/or high power device physicists and vendors, software engineers focusing on power physics and phenomena, utilitiy managers and other related business folks, energy futures traders, etc.

If you are interested in technical aspects of connecting intermittent stochastic power generation sources to the grid and maintaining stability while increasing carrying loads and oprating reliability you should look at this issue. It is as good a starting place as I have seen to get quick, factual, helpful information. While politicians of the GOP ilk in particular are busy saying wind power's a pipedream and an impossibility, the engineers, who are educated unlike GOP Palin types, are making it happen, cogently and economically.

So you can spend time swapping myths with like-minded GOP chums, or you can learn things and become a better person, better educated. Your choice.

Read. Learn. Avoid being an opinionated dunce and instead have informed opinions.

I will end with a sampling of this publication's pages (two facing pages plus a third from a following article), to show a part of the analysis in place and the progress being made by power engineers, meteorologists, statisticians, surveyors, maintenance technicians, right-of-way lawyers, and economics planners to keep your lights from flickering and your TV amusements dependable (except as to content). I expect in the post Civil War era there were politicians belittling the pipedream of a railroad grid for the nation, for reaching west.

There will always be crabgrass on the lawn of life. Sand in the gearboxes of progress. Republicans and other Luddites.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A popular right-wing myth is government should do little because it is less capable than private effort. Stow that lie with the Pepsi generation.

Put another way, when is the last time the US government allowed a $1.26 billion default judgment against Uncle Sugar, and then had to shovel stuff to try to excuse inept public-sector mistakes?

Right, it is hard to think of such a thing, but then neither would that happen in private affairs, indeed people are more vigilant when profit and loss apply - any right winger worth a flag lapel pin could tell you that.

It's an uber-rightwing conditioned reflex. Like Pavlov's salivating dogs.

And yet:

No show in Wis. court could cost PepsiCo $1.26B

By EMILY FREDRIX , Associated Press
Last update: October 28, 2009 - 6:45 PM

MILWAUKEE - Two men who claim PepsiCo stole their idea to sell bottled water sued the snack and drink maker in Wisconsin and won a $1.26 billion judgment last month after the company didn't respond.

PepsiCo, which calls the accusations "dubious," says it didn't know about the lawsuit until almost a week after the court granted the award without a trial.

The company wants the court to toss out the ruling, known as a default judgment, or at least give PepsiCo a chance to fight the accusations.

PepsiCo said part of the problem was it was served the lawsuit in North Carolina, where it is incorporated, instead of Purchase, N.Y., where it is based. Later, a secretary who received letters relating to the case failed to act on them.

Spokesman Joe Jacuzzi said PepsiCo wants to fight the claims but acknowledges it failed to respond because of "an internal process issue."

Even a dumb bunny dumbest ever uber-right Bushco appointed US Attorney could have and probably would have avoided that kind of blunder. Even with the better staff surrendering control positions all around her until she was riffed out, those "government sloths" are now back, and throughout the turmoil the office did not make a "Pepsi generation" blunder of even a tenth of the soda pop's magnitude.

Because they're not private-sector stupid. That's why.

Quote is from Strib's carry of the AP feed, here. Please read the entire story for while it was super dumb what Pepsi did, judges are not so slavishly insensitive and woodenly stupid as to likely allow such a gross injustice to stand [after all, they are not private sector, they work for the government]. It would take a true dog-eat-dog reflexive Ayn Rand thin-the-herd pencil headed nabob to let that one stand as is, but a good judge would be able to fashion a good and fitting sanction, and would impose one.

dumb bunny photo - from here

Political Muse, who for months has not endorsed Reed or Clark, has chosen Clark. Blue Man comments.

Hat tip to Blue man: it is where I saw the link.

Blue man, here.

Muse, here.

I have earlier said I believe Clark the stronger candidate, I feel she has a very good chance to oust Bachmann, and that I like her for being less on the Blue Dog end of the party spectrum even though Clark is far too moderate for me to consider ideal. But the best of two strong candidates who could give Bachmann a challenge.

If Reed ends up endorsed, I would have no problem favoring her over Bachmann and saying so.

But who cares what I think, there are two candidates at present and I would not want to prematurely yell at others to go one way or the other. My feelings are personal, not advice. I believe the Reed candidacy is a good thing.

But when I have read some Reed supporters saying "Tarryl Clark is too liberal to win the District" that's a crock. Try it you'll like it is an appropriate response, on running Clark.

Nobody's run like Tarryl Clark. She is a unique person, and seems vigorous about campaigning.

The closest prior candidate to Clark but somewhat more introverted, Patty Wetterling, with a bit more help from friends might now be the incumbent.

That Jon Bohn thing was no help to her, particularly with the mainstream media picking it to report at the very time while Bachmann was working Pastor Mac's flying circus [out of district] saying God picked her. As in the Bohn thing distracted from the real meat of the situation, namely that it insults God to say she'd pick the likes of Bachmann for anything beyond a church bake sale scheduling.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Busy bees. Trevor Willett wearing out his pitching arm, but is it major league? Meanwhile Clark says, credit only where credit is due.

Or is Willett just warming up, yet to throw his best breaking ball? This link; source of this screenshot:

I did not know this site existed until a link showed up in the Google Alert set for "maureen reed". First thought, is this some kind or astroturf, or legit?

A whois gave this:

WinJam Group
209 20th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35213
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 21-Jun-08
Expires on: 21-Jun-11
Last Updated on: 15-Jan-09

Administrative Contact:
Weinberg, Martin
WinJam Group
209 20th Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35213
United States
(205) 785-5576 Fax --

That's a good sign. A person standing up and not using some anonymizer gimmick to hide identity. It smells more of grassroots than astroturf to see that.

I am only guessing via the one link that the lawyer in Alabama by that name is the same Martin Weinberg running the website. Perhaps not. I suppose I would need to know ins and outs of Alabama politics to have a firmer guess, and with the name Jeff Sessions popping to mind, I don't want to be there or go there.

At any rate Trevor Willett - we wait to see if you are a starting pitcher, or out of the bull pen. Click the opening link to read the entire Reed promo thing. Not as if you haven't heard it before.

Reed, as "progressive"? Do blue dogs bark that way? Work that one out on your own.

More on the site, home page here, suggests it is another of those legit wannabe major league Dem talking-points-online situations. Getting to be as many of them now as blogs. People wanting to do the "Howard Dean" dance step after Dean showed how. I did the obvious, a site-specific google for "tarryl clark" and it might be that Trevor Willett is more reactive than proactive, in that days before his op-ed there was this link, this screenshot, suggesting somewhat of an equal time thing at play - and Willett doing exactly what he should for his candidate, covering a base after the other team hit one to the deep outfield gap:

The obscenity to sensibilities we call Michele Bachmann must be getting play all the way to deep-down-south Dixie. Wow, are we blessed. Too bad she neglects her district to court name recognition elsewhere. We could use something more, here in the Sixth District, in hardship times. Bill O'Reilly is not going to deliver district help.

How's that for a transition to the next topic: Michele Bachmann neglects the district, poses otherwise, and gets a truthful reprimand, via Tarryl Clark as quoted at Dump Bachmann, this link, this excerpt:

Tarryl Clark Sends Out Hard Hitting Pitch Going After Charlatan Michele Bachmann

Nineteen months ago, experts scouring the state inspecting bridges for safety flaws shut down Saint Cloud’s De Soto/Highway 23 bridge until further notice.

We were told it would be seven years before they could reconstruct it. Congresswoman Bachmann did nothing to help us. But in the State Capitol, we stepped up and found the resources within our newly-passed transportation funds to replace this bridge so vital to our community and get traffic moving again.

Yesterday, we held a celebration of the opening of the new bridge, the “Granite City Crossing.”

Gathered there were the partners who made it possible – my State colleagues who helped find the funding within our newly-passed transportation funds; the construction workers who labored every day on the bridge; the local businesses who are hoping the traffic flowing once again past their stores will bring more customers.

And Michele Bachmann. [...]

After setting the stage that way it goes on. You can probably make a good guess at direction.

Again, follow this DB link to read the entire item.

Not that we haven't heard it before.

It is tide-like in its consistency, Michele Bachmann's twice-daily (if not more frequent) parade of grandstanding limelight seeking horrors.

I had read online that Clark, Bachmann, Klobuchar, other notables did a ceremonial bridge walk as an opening thing.

That Clark item that DB carried is like throwing Bachmann over the edge, midspan.

Way to go, Senator Clark.

Final item, reminiscent of Mike Hatch media relations, 2008, same website - I am getting to like it more and more - Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) on Tuesday apologized for calling a former Enron lobbyist-turned-Federal Reserve Board adviser a "K Street whore."

Read about it there, this link, no Crabgrass screenshot or excerpting on the item, but, see this back link for more on Alan Grayson, who is one of the few, and one of the very, very best.

I don't think Grayson should have apologized any more than Hatch should have in 2008 on the "Republican whore" comment. Political correctness can get too heavy when it intrudes into creative speech and turns out mush, like food forty minutes in a blender. We have too much of that around already. Barney Frank has a good way with words, and it is refreshing. Even when it's pure Barney blarney, it still is a lesson in word choice and delivery. Grayson has a direct and trustworthy demeanor, and I would hate to see this sort of "gotcha" stuff end up turning him into a speaking delivery clone of Orrin Hatch or Norm Coleman.

Some things are so seriously freightening that they should not be contemplated even as a joke with Halloween almost upon us.

As always, click to enlarge and read.

Original site:

The PayPal bumper sticker chance does not work from the screenshot. You have to log onto the original page.

Email is listed on the original, if you need to get a PO box address or whatever to send a check by snail mail.

I imagine this is the handiwork of some mainland US entrepreneur who knows a bad thing when he sees one, who might do a tee shirt promotion next.

And "bad thing." I mean BAD. I look at that and the thought of it gives me the shakes.

I call it the vomit ticket. The person behind this promotion, besides bumper sticker and tee shirt, should do one of those plastic vomit things that used to be popular, twentieth century, with a Palin-Bachmann-2012 business card size image in the middle. One of these things, modified.

It would be a truth-in-packaging thing after all. Or at least ship the bumper sticker along with one of those airline barf bags. Or the promoter could get together with Avidor at Dumpbachmann, originator of the one-and-only Michele Bachmann Barf bag for any time she makes you want to hurl your cookies. Think of a trifecta offering, a Bachmann barf bag, a Palin one, and the bumper sticker. It's a natural.

Well - it's early morning, I am going for coffee, but to tell the truth - if the thing takes off as popular, moreover profitable, there are likely consequences. Neither Bachmann nor Palin would be expected to be charitable enough to avoid wanting a cut.

Go to that DumpBachmann link, again, here, it is a hoot. Follow a link there. Watch a video if your tummy can take it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some people are not all windbag talk, but there's action. What's Pawlenty's comparable executive record?

This from the allegedly liberal east coast - specifically Massachusetts. And from as reliable a rightwing outlet as Fox, the Pawlenty appologists cannot impeach their gospel station.

Last week, the governor's office revealed a total of 726 Executive Branch employees had been laid off during four rounds of budget-cutting the past year.

726 jobs trimmed. From state government. Hard times mean shared hardship. All that "conservative" rhetoric.

Okay, how has Gov. Windbag done? The itinerant, is there a speaking engagement in your town maven, Tim Pawlenty - darling of tea bags and tax haters?

Same period, how many of the jobs under his control has he trimmed to keep up with those on the liberal east coast.

Come on you GOP readers - give me the number.

Residual Forces, Let Freedom Ring -- guys, give me a number.

Don't you want a self-annointed presidential candidate who can prove himself as "conservative" a budget master as the Governor of Massachusetts?

Or have you been lying through your teeth all this time? Huh?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Woo - woo. I am the model of a modern banking president.

The Mary Kiffmeyer - bank closure story is reported first here, with a follow-up account, here.

I want an investigation. The rationale for wanting detail of the failure of Riverside Community Bank headquartered in Otsego with an Anoka branch to be fully investigated is basically that one might infer the Pawlenty appointed Commerce Dept. boss had a neck problem from looking the other way on this purported "Christian" governed bank, for the last half year or so (or perhaps longer); with Uncle Sugar now (via the FDIC) on the hook for a reported $20 million. What would losses that way have been if the operation was anesthetized and put under a half year ago? I do not know. But the question is a valid one. With it being a State chartered operation, Lori Swanson in my view has a duty to Sherlock into things - why the dog did not bark earlier, etc. Plus, with a federal hit of twenty million, her duty would be to coordinate a thorough investigation with federal authorities. Anything less would be dereliction of duty. Certainly, investigating the thing could be termed in public banter to be a partisan witch hunt, but that's a risk going with the AG job, and Swanson, primarily, should do her job and not duck things. And the job is to investigate and prosecute if any wrongdoing is found or to report publicly if none is uncovered.

Anything less would be remiss, and it would be doing a job less than we'd hoped in voting Swanson into office. Certainly one thing we can all agree on is that over the last crucial month before bank closure, or longer, the man in the middle was not signing major documentation for the bank or its holding company. So who was? Who was boss at that bank? That's the first question for our AG, Lori Swanson.

Read those two links. Be informed.

photo credits - Mary Kiffmeyer pic, here; Riverside Community Bank wall art item, here

Hat tip to Paul Schmelzer, at MinnIndependent, this link, for linking over to good evidence, here, that it was Mary Kiffmeyer running things at the bank holding company, thus removing some uncertainty. Yet resolving things in one sense, Schmelzer opens an entirely different can of worms - who at Strib made the bosses' call to scrub Kiffmeyer's name from present reporting? Some "Republican whore" or is that hack? Is Doug Tice still senior in the news department at Strib?

What we need, clearly, is thousand-points-of-light Katherine Kersten, to bring all threads of truth about God's Bank into focus - into a tightly woven tapestry of truth. She could even tell us whether the rhyme still holds up or not.

Yet, somehow, I fear waiting for Kersten to write on these recent events might prove unproductive.

Let's be totally serious. We need answers. What bad loans exactly were being made and carried on that bank's books - who were the borrowers, how good was the security and who measured and documented that, and was any lending tied in any way to possible borrower status as a major GOP player? What standards, if any, did that bank have for decision making? Was there an operations manual? A lending policy manual? A book of guidelines for judging soundness of proposed loans? A list of qualified favored appraisers?

What were Mary Kiffmeyer's qualifications to be running a bank holding company in Minnesota, and why did not Commerce Department regulators ask? Or did they, and if so, what answers did they deem acceptable to quell further curiosity? How high a level of decision making does the email trail at the Commerce Department show involved when it was this bank that was being reviewed? What email trail is there of Kiffmeyer to Commerce Department officials and others in the Pawlenty administration, about this bank? What do suitably maintained phone logs kept in the regular course of business disclose? What conversations or paper discussions are retrievable between the Fed, the FDIC, and the Commerce Department - what stance were these three players taking relative to one another? There are a host of questions that only a formal legal agency investigator could likely to get answers beyond a tall, thick stone wall. We, the public, voters, need and deserve answers.

Mary Turck at Daily Planet, this link, points out info that highlights a ten page 2004 New York Times feature (this link) on the start of this divinely guided venture.

So where are the ten page autopsy reports? The starry eyed feel good start of an angelic adventure is less news than its unraveling and the causes for the big windshield splat.

So where's the autopsy? Foot-shuffling and murmurings about "the current market and economy" will not cut it. Lifting rocks to see what's under is needed.

That Schmelzer-linked Minneapolis Fed news release is dated October 19, 2009. The closure was less than a week later. What's up? Why moving on that kind of time frame? What were the motivations to wrap things up with the Fed days away from a closure event? Who benefits by wrapping up the one before the other? Did the acquiring bank need assurances? What? Answers. We need answers. How are levels of government coordinating things or not? Who calls the shots on timings such as this?

Again, answers, answers, answers. There must be some. Let's hear them.

Sooner is always better than later, yet ongoing investigations, if there are any, will have to run their course before any professional investigator might divulge anything beyond existence or nonexistence of investigative effort. That is step one then is there investigation going on or soon to be started? A diligent press should be raising at least that question now, with appropriate officials. Blogs are great for opinion and sometimes little known fact disclosures - but officials can hold a hammer when asking embarassing questions, and thus can gain effective attention that way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tarryl Clark gains another endorsement. Can Maureen Reed explain why she, not Clark, was more deserving of being endorsed?

MPR - Polinaut has the info, here.

The endorsement is from the operating engineers. What in the world do they operate? That's unclear in the naming.

Aside from that, the final sentence of the press release quoted at Polinaut is a hoot:

We are proud to endorse her, and our thousands of members will work to ensure she is elected.

No doubt the leadership folks in that union are proud of their endorsement choice. I do not dispute that. However, beyond being a source of GOTV door-to-door and phone bank munchkins, the day the union leaderships can assuredly deliver rank-and-file large vote counts is the day they will be taken far, far more seriously. If they could, Patty Wetterling would the the incumbent Rep. from the Sixth District. Or even the lobbyist from last cycle. But it's Bachmann. Go figure.

The teachers' and bureaucrats' unions do substantially deliver, and seem to accordingly, for better or worse, have a greater local voice in DFL affairs. SEIU has been productive. The building trades, too many of the membership vote according to the half page NRA orange card mailings that repeatedly say little else but "Vote GOP" with the recipients generally too unsophisticated to see themselves being rudely and repeatedly manipulated. Whether or not that's how it should be, it is how it is.

I think the nurses and SEIU represent lower-rank healthcare employees, and they (at least through leadership decision making) favor Clark over Reed, who touts her experience in healthcare management as her main qualifying feature. I see those endorsements as most harmful to her DFL hopes, because of that, but what has Reed done to try to earn such endorsements. So far she's lodged a press release complaint that union procedures were reputedly unfair to her - but Reed has not said why she is in any way more deserving of endorsements Clark attained. It is curious.

She has not even explained why she believes the DFL should pay her great attention despite her having run against the Hatch-Dutcher ticket. If she had a good reason for doing that, now is the best available time to articulate it. Yesterday would have been better and tomorrow may be too late.

My greatest concern is that Maureen Reed may again run IP, although she has given public assurances to the contrary. But after caucus voting, will she find some supposed slight justifying in her mind an IP candidacy? We have to wait and see.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

People are getting angry and there is a limit to how long they will carry irresposible and unresponsive folks in DC. If they fiddle ---

An excerpt that is much of the entire article, here.

Can The Democrats Avoid A Populist
Health Care Rebellion?

By Kevin Zeese

20 October, 2009

The leadership of the Democratic Party is on the verge of passing health insurance reform. The centerpiece of the “reform” is requiring Americans to buy overpriced insurance from private corporations. But, it is evident that many in the Democratic voting base see the insurance industry as the problem – not the solution – and are getting angry about a new law that will force people to buy from corporations they don’t trust.

Just a few weeks ago the Mobilization for Health Care for All was announced ( The Mobilization focuses on the denial of doctor-recommended care by the insurance industry. Sit-ins were planned at health insurance companies with demands that insurance corporations stop the denials. The Mobilization sought 100 people willing to sit-in at insurance corporations and risk arrest as people sat in at lunch counters two generations ago.

The response has been explosive, nearly 800 have signed up to risk arrest and thousands have signed up to join the protests. In the last 20 days 78 people have been arrested protesting the real death panels – the private insurance industry – who according to a California study deny doctor recommended care 20% of the time.

The Mobilization hoped to have “patients not profits sit-ins” in three cities last week, and instead it had them in nine cities. On the next Mobilization day, October 28th, there is likely to be twice as many cities protesting the insurance industry – just as Congress considers forcing Americans to buy insurance. This may be developing into the largest campaign of non-violent civil resistance since the Civil Rights era.

Many of the protesters supported Obama and were active in Democratic campaigns. Does the Democratic Party think that people willing to risk arrest against the corruption of the insurance industry will support Democratic candidates with time, money and votes who force them to buy insurance from these corporations?

These are protests the Democratic Party should not ignore. At the Washington, DC mobilization one woman, Linda from Annapolis, spoke to president Obama, said she had helped him get elected in part because he promised real change in health care. She still wants him to come through but reminded him – “we elected you, we can un-elect you.” Linda reflects the view of many Democratic Party activists who are angry at the pro-insurance bill being pushed by Congressional leaders.

As people come to understand the reform bill, which began as health “care” reform but devolved into health “insurance” reform, the anger will grow – not just from the right, but from the Democratic voting base who voted for the hope of real reform, not more of the corporate-dominated Washington, DC non-solutions to problems Americans face every day.

Indeed, Americans of all stripes will be angry. At the Washington, DC mobilization police allowed the sit-in to occur, despite it being illegal, and refused to arrest the participants. We later found out that the police had to make wage concessions to keep their health care.

And the mainstream and much of the alternate media is not carrying the story. Ownership calling shots is apparent. News is what the boss wants hirelings to sing. They fear, they stay on key. But the naked emperor ultimately is called out, and the Dem's time will come if they continue to ignore those who hesitantly trusted them.

Which is why they love Michele Bachmann and why she is allowed so much press attention. "Hey look, loudmouth malcontent, this is your alternative to me, to us." It is good for their retention rates. Good for perpetuation of the status quo. The lesser evil game, redux.

Same source, a shorter excerpt, from here - and please read both originals:

House and Senate Health Care Reform Bills

The House bill is HR 3200: America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. The Senate's version is America's Healthy Future Act of 2009. After clearing the Finance Committee on October 13, further consideration now moves to both floors where significant hurdles remain.

In an earlier article, this writer explained that House and Senate bills will ration health care, enrich insurers, drug companies, and large hospital chains, and make a dysfunctional system worse. If Obamacare passes, hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts will harm seniors. Most others as well, especially the poor, chronically ill, all working Americans paying more and getting less, and millions more left uninsured. In addition, employers will be able to opt out of providing coverage, but since insurance will be mandated, those without it will have to buy it or face hundreds of dollars in penalties - still a debated figure ahead of House and Senate floor debate, votes in both chambers, and if passed, approving final legislation to be sent to the President for signing.

Four of the five House and Senate versions include a public option. Only the Baucus bill excludes it. Instead, it calls for expanding nonprofit health care cooperatives, similar to ones in many states that sell insurance, can pick and choose their members, are able to charge premiums comparable to private insurers, and in most areas provide little, if any, real competition.

If a public option becomes law, it will provide fig leaf cover for a weak and ineffective plan, not what many want but won't get. Most, in fact, won't qualify because it'll be a limited to high-risk individuals, offloaded to the government for substandard care under an "adverse selection" process. Private insurers will get to skim off the cream, charge as much as they want, profit handsomely at low risk, and leave Washington stuck with ones the industry doesn't want.

Yet they want more, are using hyperinflated cost estimates well above projected increases without "reform" legislation, and claim Medicare cuts will mean higher costs for the privately insured. They also say taxing higher-priced "Cadillac" plans and being prohibited from denying preexisting conditions will raise costs for everyone.

More still according to Wendell Potter, former PR executive for CIGNA insurance, now a whisleblower exposing shenanigans he saw on the inside, including the industry's "Medical Loss Ratio" (MLR) profit margin. Until about two decades ago, it was five cents on the dollar. Now it's a quarter or five times as much, and they're still not satisfied, so they're going for broke on Obamacare to skim hundreds more billions off the top in what will be greater than ever grand theft if they get it.

The people are getting bent over. By professionals.

A bendover you can believe in.

With all the posturing taking so long because it takes long to hide a robbery of a nation. The thing we can expect without a massive public outcry is unfortunately what we likely will get even with an outcry - a worse deal than the status quo, packaged in perfume - but at least an outcry might gain attention and real change might grudgingly emerge. But absent being forced to the wall, it will be a bendover of the citizens, one you can count on.

True and lasting reform, remember this, requires only the simple sentence, "Medicare coverage is extended to every citizen." Then without smoke and mirrors and in the sunshine of public scrutiny if Medicare is unsustainable and changes are made the changes can reach throughout what the federal government does, including making war and funding a brass-heavy military. Troops on the ground are costly enough. But look at all the brass in the Pentagon that could be factored out of the burdens column when it comes to benefits and burdens of public action being looked at with a mood to balance things.

Riley who I respect is intent on calling out the plethora of Bachmann lies about healthcare reform; a good effort - read about it here - but we must be cautious to not let the loudmouthed fringe lull us into believing we can concentrate on their disingenuous postures to the extent we abandon caution over what our "champions" are about to pull off. Two additional things to think about; waffling reported here, and the know-nothing legions, noted here. This looks to be the classic thousand page bill game, reminding me of the Tom Waits line, "The big print giveth; the small print taketh away." The Dem's print is getting smaller and smaller to where we wonder what we will be able to see of what gets to the Obama desk for a signature. My take on his use of the "bully pulpit" is that he knows it will stink to high heaven for bending over the citizenry, and he can say, "I left it to Congress and the political process - it is their effort, not mine. i was busy being President. Talking to McCrystal, all that." And Biden can add his comment about Cheney as equally applicable in the Biden-brain for any distress the people might feel on ultimate healthcare legislation, "Who cares?" Let us hope for better - but from track records so far let us expect the worse. Wave those tiny American flags (made in China).

________FURTHER UPDATE________

Here is a Wikipedia image of Cassandra tearing at her hair when her cohorts ignored her prophecy and festively took the big wooden horse within the city walls. She said something about distrust of Greeks, getting greeked, something confusing to where she was insufficiently understood or trusted as a seer.

Aggressive Progressives - the donor strike for a decent healthcare bill.

If they don't care a rip for giving you fair treatment, keep your money in your wallet or purse. Let them run against the GOP on someone else's cash.

If they cannot treat you better than the GOP would, bless 'em.

That goes for Reed. That goes for Clark. Each of those two hopefuls need to light a major big time fire under those in the majority in both houses in DC and in the White House - quit diddling, quit deluding and doing shadow dances - deliver.

Or run on your own money. The American way when there's no cause to support you.

This link, a bit less sanguine than I am posting, so have a look.

photo credit here for first image; here for second

The public option - the Daily has cogent analysis, plus undeniable proof it makes sense.

First, the Daily editorial presents a competition based argument. While single payer makes more sense and can be phased in to not be disruptive but phased in so that obscene insurance firm profiteering is curbed, the fall-back of competition inducing public option planning is clearly something an honest open market competition advocate would want - just as the insurance giants who presently are exempt from antitrust anti-collusion constraints so strongly oppose that which would favor the public at their expense. And were it to be imposing a burden rather than serving as a curb to greed, they might deserve some attention and belief. All they really want is a cozy status quo at everyone else's expense. They want their cornered market preserved, never mind what's best for the populace. If they cared what's best they'd not have to be forced off the dime in their obscene denial of coverage schemes. But the truth is clear so enough said.

Finally, we now know public option will be fine. Though less sound than single payer, with a Medicare extension to cover all citizens and where the parameters of Medicare funding and payments can then be adjusted and optimized and kept optimal as medical science evolves, creating for the present a public option is a step toward that ultimately proper direction, hence, for now it clearly makes sense. Moreover, the ultimate proof of the wisdom of at least public option reform is the the quality of its opponents and the quality of their opposition arguments, read about that here.

"If you don't like the price of toilet paper and toothpaste, are we going to have a government-run Target or Wal-Mart to keep the private sector honest?" Pawlenty said. "I mean, it's a ludicrous proposition that government's going to come in in this space and compete directly with the private sector."

Toilet paper and toothpaste must be big, big, big ticket items to the man - constituting dominant percentage items in the Pawlenty family budget - for him to make such an analogy.

Toilet paper must be a life and death concern facing him. If it is that compelling a thing in his mind to be comparable to healthcare, and forty seven million people because of pricing had to go without, it would be hard on tree leaves and worse in winter absent stockpiling.

What an incredibly shallow, stupid and deceitful man. And Hatch got fewer votes. It is astounding.

It really is a Grand Old Party. Get this - and they are serious and not intentionally mocking themselves - Tim Pawlenty as RINO. To demuring on drinking up on the stronger party factional Koolaid. Holding onto his PAC money for himself and his ambition (that part, I believe), and not butting into the NY-23 GOP internecine war. Not Palin enough is the implication.

Here (comments included), here, here, here, here, and here, for a sampling.

It is astounding. These people are exceptional. At least they, unlike Blue Dogs, have gravitated to the party they belong in. Bless them and their affection for Palin, her wisdom, and her cultured manners.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The list of congressional recipients of Medicare who also oppose the public option in enacting health care reform is:

Rep. Ralph M. Hall
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
Rep. Sam Johnson
Rep. C.W. Bill Young
Rep. Howard Coble
Sen. Jim Bunning
Sen. Richard G. Lugar
Rep. Don Young
Sen. Charles E. Grassley
Sen. Robert F. Bennett
Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch
Sen. Richard C. Shelby
Rep. Jerry Lewis
Sen. James M. Inhofe
Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Henry E. Brown
Sen. Pat Roberts
Sen. George V. Voinovich
Sen. John McCain
Rep. Judy Biggert
Sen. Thad Cochran
Rep. Harold Rogers
Rep. Dan Burton
Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon
Rep. Frank R. Wolf
Sen. Christopher S. Bond
Rep. Michael N. Castle
Rep. Joe Pitts
Rep. Tom Petri
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Rep. Doc Hastings
Rep. Cliff Stearns
Rep. Sue Myrick
Rep. John Carter
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Jon Kyl
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Rep. Nathan Deal
Rep. John Linder
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. John L. Mica
Rep. Walter B. Jones
Sen. Jim Risch
Rep. Ed Whitfield
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner
Rep. Virginia Foxx
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Sen. Saxby Chambliss
Sen. Michael B. Enzi
Rep. Elton Gallegly
Rep. Donald Manzullo
Rep. Peter T. King
Rep. Ander Crenshaw


The list, to my knowledge, was first posted at this link.

Some in this nation where all are told they are equal turn out to be more equal than others. Those saying socialism is nothing but a nation sanely assuring all have health care must have a different name for when they are benefit recipients.

"Entitlement" perhaps is their word for their cash flows and their benefit flows.

Those on that list are just more entitled than others.

Think Progress has more of the detail of the irony. This link.

Have a look at some of the comments. Weiner and Grayson are calling out the hypocrites and nobody can call them hypocrites for doing so. The mark of the beast is carrying the Medicare coverage, being sure to be enrolled, while railing against "socialism."

It's like having been born and railing against motherhood.

Feathering their own nests and then decrying the amount of feathers it would take if everyone had feathered nests. We face a feather shortage, where we cannot pluck the rich - the richly feathered. That is injustice. Unfairness.

The more feathers you have the greater need you have to keep and preen them, etc.

They will tell you feathers can trickle down, if managed right by the right managers.

Rep. Alan Grayson - casting a shadow of capability and decency that obscures the likes of Michele Bachmann.

This is the kind of quality individual people like me and my like-minded friends and family deserve; yet we get the one others deserve; we have the one named Michele Bachmann. And last cycle, we had a DFL offering that - said nicely, failed to inspire.

Read the screenshot to get a grasp of the gulf between Bachmann's degree from Oral Roberts and working a bit as a tax collection lawyer for the IRS, vs. Alan Grayson and what he has accomplished -- Alan Grayson, who unlike Bachmann, is a smart person.

Both DFL Sixth District challengers, Tarryl Clark and Maureen Reed are smart. Clark seems philosophically and politically closer but not nearly close enough to Grayson.

Keep the man's name in mind. He will gain more recognition as time passes. The screenshot is the bio from his congressional website; homepage, here.

Bachmann lovers, this upcoming election cycle do the world a favor, stay home on election day.

And folks, that link the Grayson home page gives as its lead item, it is a short seven pages so read it, here.

"Regardless of purity," would a person testing positive for blood sample controlled substance content be a felony "mixture" under Minnesota law?

And think, driving to Wisconsin, crossing state lines ...

Four dunderheaded robed idiots on the State's top Court have stepped toward this slippery slope.

Bong water containing controlled substance traces, "regardless of purity," is an illegal mixture and the gross weight of bong water would determine the level of felony crime. That's according to such learned jurists.

So, what's a mixture, and isn't your body one? It's not a single substance. That's for certain.

And, the statute these four dunderheads rely upon says [unambiguously to them]:

Sect. 152.01, Subd. 9a.Mixture. "Mixture" means a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.

You test positive, your being - it is a mixture containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity, and even if you are extreme anorexic-bulimic, you're over the top weight limit and hence in the super big time felony range, ya sure, ya betcha.

If your bong water can bust you, your blood can too. Or it arguably could, unless and until the four opining idiots are voted out of office, or your legislators rewrite the statute to cancel this judically fabricated absurdity.

For links, first, the online opinion where three Justices showed good sense, and four lacked it, this link.

Strib reports, this link.

And you need not say it's absurd because Crabgrass says that, look at pages D-1, and D-2, the beginning dissenting pages of the opinion [link given above] for a refreshing wind of sensibility contrary to the wooden-headed majority four:

I respectfully dissent from the majority's decision for two reasons. First, I conclude the law does not support the result reached by the majority. The majority's decision to permit bong water to be used to support a first-degree felony controlled-substance charge runs counter to the legislative structure of our drug laws, does not make common sense, and borders on the absurd. The majority reaches its conclusion because it misapplies the plain-meaning rule and fails to consider the statutory language in its application to the facts at hand and in the context of the statute as a whole. The result is a decision that has the potential to undermine public confidence in our criminal justice system.

Second, I dissent because the decision of Rice County to charge Sara Ruth Peck with a first-degree felony offense—an offense that has a presumptive sentence of 86 months in prison—for possession of two and one-half tablespoons of bong water is not only contrary to the law, it is counterproductive to the purposes of our criminal justice system. In a recent article addressing problems with our nation's criminal justice system, Senator Jim Webb (D. Va.) said:

The United States has by far the world's highest incarceration rate. With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses nearly 25% of the world's reported prisoners. We currently incarcerate 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the average worldwide of 158 for every 100,000. . . .
. . . .

With so many of our citizens in prison compared with the rest of the world, there are only two possibilities: Either we are home to the most evil people on earth or we are doing something different—and vastly counterproductive. Obviously, the answer is the latter.

Senator Jim Webb, Why We Must Fix Our Prisons, Parade, Mar. 29, 2009, at 4. I agree with Senator Webb—Americans are not the most evil people on earth. Rather, we must be doing something “vastly counterproductive.”

Well, there's one flaw, the dissenting term, "borders on the absurd," was far, far too deferential to the dissent author's judical brethren.

IN FACT - They have done something so pitifully and inartfully deranged and stupid that Michele Bachmann would be proud of it, had she done it, if it were hers having a place in her parade of public stupidities.

That bad. Really.

And then, more obscene, the incarceration rate - and hey, patriots, wave those tiny American flags (made in China) and shout praise - that is a rate far ahead of Russia, and its infamous gulags, greater than any dictator's banana republic, greater than any mid-east hotspot.

Yes, Michele, "We're Number One!" The tiny flag waving can be overwhelming.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dr. Reed goes to DC.

MinnPost reports it; this link.

It is a step to visit the money wells besides the unions. It is a chance to sound out the Blue Dog coalition, with Dr. Reed having earlier embraced that faction (around the time she announced her candidacy) and with the MinnPost, presumably with Reed's input, saying:

Reed, who portrays herself as a moderate Democrat, said it is this position that enhances her electability in the 6th District where a majority of voters supported Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the presidential election and former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in his 2008 race against Al Franken.

“The essence of winning this district is getting that independent voter, that middle of the political spectrum,” Reed said.

[O]n the major debate of the moment — health care reform — Reed said that she supports a government-run public option, which would negotiate rates like private insurers. This version of the public option was included in one of the House bills and is the [version] favored by some Blue Dog Democrats.

Reed, like Minnesota’s entire delegation, also said that she favors Medicare payment reform that would incentivize quality over quantity of care.

“Medicare rates at the moment disfavor Minnesota to the max,” Reed said. “It’s been bad for decades we know it has been bad for decades.”

[italics added] That middle-of-the-road mentality, Elwyn Tinklenberg tried it, and got neither the middle (or enough of it), nor the honked-off progressives in the district, those wanting more than cloying GOP-lite.

Ditto for Janet Robert.

We must wait to see how Reed distinguishes herself from others who have tried what she speaks of as an approach. Whatever the dynamics and demographics, she would be a stronger - easier to support = candidate than either Robert or Tinklenberg.

Reed's problem is that Tarryl Clark is in the race this cycle - a distressingly moderate person quite similar in that way to Patty Wetterling, but far less of a middle-of-the-road advocate than others (others who have tried the GOP-lite approach), so that Clark can run a strong campaign without losing votes by tepid attention to the progressive end of the spectrum.

As always noted, Reed, Clark, either is a vast and monumental improvement to the town clown and laughinglstock who currently holds the Sixth District congressional seat.

Reed noted that, while saying it somewhat more civilly. MinnPost reporting:

Reed took a shot at the outspoken Republican, who has a reputation for making over-the-top and sometimes misleading claims.

“It is that I listen, think and talk, in that order,” Reed said.

While that is suitably dismissive of Bachmann, a mental flyweight, Tarryl Clark is no slouch. Indeed, Clark appears to be Reed's intellectual equal, yet with recognition already as a strong in-district presence and campaigner.

And I have to say this -- the GOP-lite thing is like the third rail in trying to run in the Sixth - and Reed seems to be grasping at it. Nobody is impressed by GOP-lite, neither the true and the rabid GOP folks, nor the progressives who view the Republican we've got as ineffectual enough to be a non-factor, while a GOP-lite style of individual with a sounder mind could be harder to ultimately dislodge with a good liberal. And then - there is redistricting - a bit of a wild card as to whether predictions of Minnesota losing a seat come true, and how that would play out with Clark or Bachmann holding the Sixth when new lines are drawn.

Strib carries a parallel item; this link.

The Strib item had less than a host of comments; this link; these comments [none mine]:

Wake me when Maureen Reed actually has something to say.
posted by fromdarange on Oct. 21, 09 at 2:52 PM |
1 of 1 people liked this comment.

She does have something to say
Someone had to run against the true American patriot, Michele Bachmann. I bet the libs will be mad when Michele wins again. Won't you Kevin Diaz? God bless you Michele!
posted by cashncarey on Oct. 21, 09 at 6:55 PM |

FAKE Democrat
Hey Maureen, why don't you explain to the DFL why they should give you their support when you ran as a quixotic LT Governor candidate for the independence party? You and your moronic counterpart Peter Hutchinson took 8% of the vote thus cementing TPaws victory. Go away, and take your money with you.
posted by btwobomber on Oct. 22, 09 at 9:26 AM |

If you contact the press about going to DC, I feel it is incumbent to provide a post-trip itinerary on the website, unless you expect readers to infer a part of the trip might have been behind-closed-door K-Street visits; saying what positions might be held if elected, what thoughts might be forwarded from trade association heads to corporate members, etc. It invites disclosure and if GOP web speculation proves true that Tarryl Clark also went to DC on an overlapping time frame, then an equal degree of itinerary disclosure would be appropriate - for the same reason.

We like disclosure.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

So, Maureen who exactly did you visit; and, Tarryl, if you went, same question.

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Not directly on point, but not worth a separate post, at this link allows a search of the Minnesota Congressional candidates comparative war chest efforts; yielding this bar chart for the present status quo:

It will be interesting to recheck the chart after each quarter's reporting; and while Reed and Clark camps can debate cash-on-hand, trending, past quarter totals, etc., I suggest that the two GOP candidates in the Eighth District are dark horses and their fund raising totals reflect this. Any argument?

Last thought, why are Paulsen and Bachmann so far ahead of all the others, incumbents as well as challengers, and what have they done, for whom, to merit such abiding favoritism? Whose interests are served by keeping them in office, in terms of who can pay such sums to have things their way?

Their totals are special, and I expect the interests behind the extreme donor largess are special too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Madoff spends time with Carmine Persico, a reputed Colombo crime family boss, and Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of selling military secrets

What? Not Manny Noriega and the Unabomber?

A run-of-the-mill mobster; but then Pollard. The Israelis have wanted to spring Pollard for decades. Perhaps now with cash Bernie might have hidden the interested parties can afford to buy a two-for. Pitch in mob cash, make it a three-for?

Strib reports on Bernie in the Big House; here. The Crabgrass headline is lifted from within the AP report carried by Strib.

Pelosi has a good idea - no kowtowing to autumn Snowes - but help out on detail; e.g., ... plus 5 percent ...; 96% not 100%; when, how, ... .

Links, here and here.

Pelosi has to be given credit for at least still talking the talk.

The bunch of them have yet to walk a walk - and who do YOU trust in that?

When would coverage be available, to whom, how conditioned, those are key details in a final situation, but just more stuff in flux at this point.

But public option is not being totally thrown under the train - yet.

Or so they say. They say a lot. Do you trust a lot?

But the headline questions, from the first linked item, this quote [italics added]:

New CBO numbers may have sealed the deal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing to move ahead with a "robust" public option--one that reimburses hospitals and providers at Medicare rates, plus five percent--in the House's health care bill. [...]

The [Pelosi proposed healthcare] bill remains nominally more expensive than the Senate Finance Committee proposal, but would cover 96 percent of all Americans, providing greater bang for each federal dollar spent. [...]

The move is sure to make progressives ecstatic, and puts Senate leaders, who have been unable to reach any decisions about their preferences for a public option in their own bill, in an uncomfortable position.

In recent days, Pelosi has insisted that she intends to send House negotiators to a health care conference committee with the maximum possible leverage for the public option. And House health care principals have been working doggedly to keep the price of reform down with the help of the public option--so in a sense, the news of this final push comes as little surprise: Pelosi is, as expected, using the fiscal responsibility of the robust public option to win over enough skeptics in her caucus to pass it. And she is, reportedly, very close to doing that.

By tying reimbursement rates to Medicare, the government would be able to spend less money per individual on subsidies in the health insurance exchanges. One of the major critiques of the Senate Finance bill is that the spending totals are kept low by denying subsidies to middle income Americans, and without providing a systemic corrective to insurance industry waste and abuse. In the House bill, greater subsidies, and the public option address that issue.

Better bang for the buck; that's good, but why a 5% premium beyond Medicare? Why not identical? Etc. Big question - will this be a phased in thing, where nothing helpful to the people in need happens until 2015; if then, since rules and statutes do get amended; and where if you don't like the plan you're with now, you can go public?

The conference situation will be most illuminating, as will how the Blue Dogs in the House and the bipartisan dogs of the Senate try to screw around to help vested interests continue to screw the public. So to speak.

Max and Olympia, and the circus is in town. If there is no truly vital public option, the public, the people, you and me, will be deliberately disadvantaged and lied to. Remember what's-his-name campaigning with "If you like the plan you have you can keep it and if you don't you can have the same plan as mine, as a member of congress."

Ya betcha. He said it then, so you could take it to the bank. (Sure, the bankers would laugh, they probably were laughing then over that and TARP, but try taking it there anyway - if you've the time and inclination.)

At least, thus far, we can recall Pelosi's name ---

Big Brother beyond - YOUR [government] cash put into a web tracking firm that can be watching YOU. Be proud. Wave that tiny flag (made in China)...

Screenshot is opening paragraphs, from here:

- as always, click the image to enlarge and read it -

More big brothers than you want or need? This link. And on a spending spree like a drunken sailor in a way that honest consistent Ron Paul type conservatives [not the neo-con species] should find objectionable. Ask Michele Bachmann what she thinks; which camp she follows.

_______FURTHER UPDATE________
It's enough to make me shake my teabag in utter disgust. When will they learn?

To leave that kind of power game entirely to private enterprise.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Maureen Reed press release - her Anoka County headquarters site in Ramsey (not in Anoka).


[click to enlarge, even numbered sites are on the south [river side] of Hwy 10.]

The press release indicated:

Anoka, MN – On Saturday October 17, Dr. Reed will officially open her campaign headquarters in Anoka and kick-off her campaign against Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. Doctor Reed will discuss her campaign to defeat Bachmann and bring common sense solutions to Washington.

WHO: Congressional Candidate, Dr. Maureen Reed

WHAT: DFL candidate, Maureen Reed, will officially kick-off her campaign against Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district.

WHERE: Reed for Congress Campaign Headquarters

6110 Highway 10, Suite 300
Anoka, Minnesota

WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 2009

11:00- 1:00 PM CT

* *Media wishing to cover Maureen Reed’s campaign kick-off can contact Trevor Willett at 612.860.6995 or for more details**

That's right, yesterday.

Sorry, but the email was sent Oct. 15, and caught in Gmail's spam trap. This morning I saw it, hence the post.

Unless you had other notice and were motivated to attend, you missed the open house, as I did.

But if you want buttons, stickers, campaign yard signs, to give money, go there. Schmooze with the folks, see who they are, see what they say about Reed's position on single payer and on public option, in the healthcare debate. Or discuss other issues.

That campaign, like others, would like to meet potential precinct caucus attendees, and to see what people in Ramsey [and from elsewhere in Anoka County] have to say.

A head's up to the Reed campaign. Ramsey, Minn. is NOT Anoka, Minn.

There is a history.

One corner of what was Ramsey township and would have been in Ramsey, is the Anoka Industrial Park, where Thurston Street runs between Hwy 116 and Hwy 10. That's to say, annexed by neighboring Anoka before Ramsey incorporated into a charter "city" under Minnesota statutes. That corner is outside of the Ramsey tax base, in the Anoka tax base, and there are reasons why McKinley Street does not run contiguously from Thurston to Sunfish Lake Blvd. Such reasons are largely focused upon the late John Weaver and local politics surrounding him and others and the annexation.

[Map downloaded, as noted on it, from Google Maps]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blue Dog Congressman Mike Ross, against the public option in healthcare, do you read the papers online or print, at home in Arkansas?

From here: Unlucky guys, no owned pharmacy to sell at well above market worth to a healthcare chain. Your Congressman feels your pain.

Indirectly. Sort of. With no pharmacy sale, how can those cartoon guys get a six-figure non-compete, in a town lacking a six-figure population? Others from Arkansas did. Sidebar items say so.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking at campaigh websites - Maureen Reed and Tarryl Clark.

Two screenshots from the "About" sub-page of each campaign's current candidate's website. Click either to enlarge and read. Neither presents the entire page, so check the originals.

Reed here.

Clark here.

Each has a supporter page, neither has an issue page. I prefer less to know what others besides the candidates think, and to know more what each candidate is willing to present as what she thinks - as an issues position posting - which each so far avoids. I am not a lemming following others. I want each individual to define herself.

Most certainly their common foe, Michele Bachmann, has defined who she is - her issue being ACORN, and not what, if anything, over her several years in DC she has done for the district.

And instead of any real issues showing from Bachmann, we have her directly displaying how she's repeatedly abused the franking privilege; on her Congressional website showing the slick mailings she's freely distributed at the public's expense - made by PR hacks for the benefit of a political hack. Enlarge them. Have a look at where your taxes are going under the Michele Bachmann stewardship. To promoting Michele Bachmann. Enjoy. It's your money, not hers.

Judge for yourselves if this meets the Bachmann Challenge. We're still waiting. There must be something?

It's been years. Are there any takers yet, on the Bachmann Challenge?

What has that profligate spender of funds on promotional mailings done for the district? Have a look at her slick product. Find a major accomplishment, a major in district project she is responsible for causing, a major piece of legislation she has gotten through the legislative process - and take it all the way back to her earlier days in DC when her party held a majority and she was busy kissing Bush in the aisles of Congress - for what, beyond publicity.

She has been little but a publicity monger, of the worse sort, seeking publicity of any sort, from any source, in ways Britney Spears might envy.

If it gets her name recognition, a headline - hey, it beats doing work, doing the job for the paycheck. That's for chumps, not for Michele Bachmann - she only gets chumps to vote for her - and that's proven easy enough without being one.

Politicking on the public's dime - that is very, very, very coarse behavior.

Who needs more of that, when there are hard times for us all and yet taxes are buying only sham-shows from the folks in the Bachmann office?

TPM, here, talks of fund raising over the past closed quarter; Reed getting less than previously, but having $30,000 more reported cash on hand over Clark's amount. Previously a Clark press release had reported, "Clark’s 2,412 donors contributed an average of $107."

TPM states,

"Maureen now sits with over $300,000 cash on hand, all of which was raised without relying on endorsements from prominent individuals or special interests," campaign manager Jason Isaacson said in a press release. "This outpouring of support shows that our message of creating jobs, fixing healthcare, and reducing the national debt is resonating with people."

I am unsure what to make of that, since Clark's supporters webpage lists endorsements while Reed's supporters page lists names, and if it's donors, only, then it is substantially less than the 2,412 Clark claims; and if it is more than that, endorsements included or especially endorsing donors, I think I have to question the likes of Wendell Anderson and Mark Rotenberg being characterized as other than "prominent individuals."

It appears some hair-splitting is going on.

Reed's prior quarter haul was substantially more than the latest, and that is trending the wrong way for a campaign where Bachmann will be spending like a drunken sailor [after all, it's donor money, not out-of-pocket where the Bachmann clinic staff's had to go without medical coverage, at least in the past because the Bachmann family's been unwilling to provide it - or maybe they could not afford to because of insurance firm rapaciousness in setting premium levels].

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Blue Man says he knows and backs Clark, and points to Big E's analysis, which is comprehensive. Big E notes Issacson was Bill Luther's campaign person, and worked for the last DFL Rep. from the Sixth District. First that's one and the same, Bill Luther, and since the Sixth's been delineated as it currently stands, Janet Robert was the first DFL candidate and she lost to Mark Kennedy and Kennedy and Bachmann have since held sway. Luther, under earlier district boundaries defeated Col. Klink, then when the boundaries changed, Klink won against Luther.

But I digress. Big E indicates the Reed people ignored blog opinion, which he faults. My understanding is that IP candidate Bob Anderson has had the opportunity to talk to both Reed and Clark, and he has respect for each. In turn, I respect Anderson's judgment that way.

Reed has energized a few, but I do not see it as equating to a strong caucus showing.

I believe Reed should hold her options open until she sees what the regular caucus folks think, in guessing whether she has a primary's chance in things. Which she has done.

If she gets hammered as badly as I expect in the caucuses, and then poisons the well knowing rank-and-file primary-going Sixth District DFL'ers opinion are usually reflected in the caucus outcome - it gains her and others with her nothing unless she'd want a Bachmann victory; which she adamantly disclaims as not being at all desirable.

So, until caucus time, it's rhetoric, and each camp, Reed's and Clark's, have hired rhetoricians and tacticians; so we can expect more of the same.

Another quarter, looking at donor strength among the small donor pool in the district should resolve things along with caucus results unless Reed shows substantial small in-district donor fund raising strength, and caucus strength.

Before she does anything as precipitous as causing a primary Reed should use some of the three hundred grand in the war chest to poll to see if people want her, especially if the poll includes a question about a primary challenge after endorsement's run its course.

It could prove enlightening to spend a little that way, polling opinion, before spending greater funds other ways. However, would a poll now say much about primary or general election time? Polls trending, is what made the Ventura phenomenon, and without polling over time with public disclosure of results; showing a publicly visible trend is impossible.

So, the next two quarters in fundraising, and precinct caucus results should resolve things, in reasonable circumstances, and so far neither Reed nor Clark has been unreasonable - with Clark appearing to be the more aggressive thus far in personally contacting likely caucus attendees.

I would argue with Big E that working the caucus lists is more important than schmoozing the blogs.

This is the last thing I will add - I do not know whether Bill Luther or Bob Olson has said anything publicly about either Reed or Clark. If any reader has knowledge, a comment or email would be appreciated. I consider both Luther and Olson "prominent individuals," and "praiseworthy individuals." I expect each would say that in comparison to Michele Bachmann either Reed or Clark is by far a better human being, but that's something we already all know. We can agree with our friends on that.

Hat tip to Eva Young at Dump Michele Bachmann, for flagging this MnPublius fund-raising post.