consultants are sandburs

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Foreclosure news in Minnesota. A glass half full. Half empty.

A Google alert set for "Anoka County" led to this Realty Trac online post. This quote, from the middle of the item.

Minnesota ranked 26th in the country in total foreclosures reported for the month. With one in every 829 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, its foreclosure rate ranked 29th among the 50 states.

Goodhue County posts top foreclosure rate in the state for January

Goodhue County posted the state’s highest county foreclosure rate in January, with one in every 242 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing — 1.7 times the national average and 3.4 times the state average. Ramsey County was second, with one in every 393 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing — 2.1 times the state average. Anoka County came in third highest, with one in every 444 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing — 1.9 times the state average. Dakota County posted the fourth highest rate, where one in every 446 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month — 1.9 times the state average. Wright County documented the fifth highest foreclosure rate, where one in every 558 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the — 1.5 times the state average month.

In the past other parts of MN 6 had higher than statewide average rates of foreclosure. This time Anoka County is in third place. The incumbent in Congress from MN 6 must expect to help people in my county out by going to speak in Cincinnati. Bless her. May she have all the speaking time imaginable after the new year comes in and a DFL person holds that seat in Congress. I promise, I would even go to hear as much as I could stomach of one of her speeches, if she is speaking next year as former Congressperson. Probably four to six minutes, then exit since any more than that might cause permanent brain damage - look at her core supporters after all, something's happened.

Michele Bachmann has drawn strong vote numbers from Wright County. The posted quote indicates foreclosure and housing suffering in Wright County is ahead of statewide averages. Anoka County has struggled with funding homelessnes prevention effort, this link. Strib earlier ran a three part focal series on housing difficulties in Wright County, here, here and here. What help, to anyone, has Michele Bachmann been? Either you are part of a solution, or part of the problem. Things took eight years of Bush-Cheney-Coleman-Mark Kennedy-Michele Bachmann to get as bad as they are. With more of Obama in the White House, and Reed or Clark in Congress, we can hope things get better.

More Bachmann, more problem. Change, or take more of the same. It's been hard, and more of the same will NOT be any easier on the district economy and on district homeowners.

Wise up, folks in Wright and Sherburne County. The Michele Bachmann, Mark Olson, Mary Kiffmeyer crowd certainly has not been much help to anyone.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
SHERBURNE COUNTY: More of a glass half full, or half empty; Elk River Star News, this link, this brief excerpt:

Lindberg, of Keller Williams Realty in Elk River, believes several things are at work in reducing the number of homes on the market. They include:

•Some traditional sellers are waiting to put their homes up for sale.

•Some people owe more than they can sell their property for today.

•Some are reluctant to sell now, knowing that their home was worth more a few years ago.

Lindberg believes home prices in Elk River probably peaked in 2006. While situations vary and there are exceptions, he said homes are typically selling for 60 to 80 percent of what they were worth at the peak.

Meanwhile, he said he’s seen fewer foreclosed or bank-owned homes coming on the market in recent months.

Annie Deckert, economic development assistant at the city of Elk River, said the smaller number of new listings is supported by the city’s foreclosure tracking numbers, which indicate that there were fewer foreclosures in Elk River in 2009 than in 2008.

Recall, when the neighbor loses a job and has the home foreclosed, it is a somewhat serious recession. When you lose a job and get foreclosed, it is the worse depression since the 1930's.

So, hey, be more neighborly, eh? Except, if you live in Wright or Sherburne County, with that home value drop to 60 - 80% of 2006 levels, and you still support Michele Bachmann, you deserve to be jobless and foreclosed. It's that vision thing; and having none and supporting Bachmann.

Latest look at Tarryl Clark and Maureen Reed campaign home pages. Clark has light stuff and Twitter stuff. Reed posts a substantial item linked to from the homepage.

Tarryl Clark, home page, this link.

Maureen Reed, home page, this link.

Clark has this issues page. And this news page.

Reed's home page links to dated items, the most recent being at the top, at this link.

That item presents substantive argument about what it would take to defeat Michele Bachmann. If the Clark site has equally accessible analysis and argument of that quality, I missed finding it.

My preference is clear. I like the Reed item as being informative and less a burden on my time in wanting to quickly find substantial content. Form your own opinions.

One thing I point out. The Franken voting performance in the district is presented via a map on the Reed site, this image.

In 2006, another Democratic landslide year as 2008 was, the Klobuchar voting in MN 6 is presented by a map from the Secretary of State's office that I cannot now locate there, but, see this image.

The suggestion from the two voting maps is that each candidate should look to be able to suggest she is more like Klobuchar in general character and appeal, than like Franken, given the patterns.

How you decide that question is a personal thing, more impression than logic. I am leaning toward Reed for now, after starting solidly favoring Clark. I cannot say it is a logical shift, rather than one more of feeling - feeling that healthcare will not be solved soon and the new replacement for Bachmann should be independent of party ties to insider networks in the DFL, and that feeling suggests Reed has the medical administrative experience to see through smokescreen and partisan positioning, to get to ways to solve things.

I would love to see each candidate proclaim, "I am favoring single payer, no matter what the cost." I do not see that happening.

What I have seen is this past ABC Newspaper item in the paper about the 2010 budget for City of Ramsey, stating midway through the item:

Among the financial challenges the council had to wrestle with while setting the budget was an 18 percent increase in health insurance costs, building permit revenues that decreased more than $377,000 and elimination of Market Value Homestead Credit.

“The city will lose $442,290 in MVHC in 2010,” said Lund.

Although the city had the option to levy for the lost MVHC and could have levied up to $8,617,097 plus the special levies, the council decided only to levy $7,485,899 plus special levies, she said.

The city also held the line on its EDA levy.

I do not know what MVHC stands for, but it was the first paragraph in the quote that grabbed my attention. I do not know if City of Ramsey provides a "Cadillac plan" for its employees, but in email from the City Administrator it was noted that the bargaining agreement prevents any substantial lessening of coverage, so that as has been reported for other providers and locales, costs of coverage are skyrocketing. Eighteen percent is not chump change. I had intended a post on the actual numbers the city provided me, I have kept the emails, and may post on it sometime.

But the 18% jump, one year to the next, carries the gist of things.

Ya betcha.

In Ramsey, it is taxpayer money that covers the city employees. So, absent single payer, it seems the taxpayers are being hit pretty hard. Others can debate other detail, but that is my factoid of the day.

In closing, the standard caveat, either Clark or Reed would be a vast improvement in replacing the incompetent incumbent, and each is a very sound and attractive candidate for the job.

With the governor race leading into the redistricting effort and with enactment of the Minnesota Health Plan for universal coverage into law in the State a possibility if there is strong executive leadership for it, I regard the governor race as more critical than the MN 6 race where, unfortunately, Bachmann has a vocal and numerous core constituency in the district - thus suggesting it more likely that a progressive governor might emerge for our future, and less likely that a moderate such as Clark or Reed, will unseat the ultra-right-wing Michele Bachmann. How she ever got elected to anything is a mystery to me. I would not even vote for her as dog catcher, although she's probably more fit for that than Congress.

Corporate Stupidity. Part 1 - They can be stupid.

Click the screenshot to read it, stupid.

Screenshot from here, and it might not be stupidity with Bally's, since all the action was to foster money in, not out. Perhaps it was hoping to snag a bit of stupidity in the public, flow a little cash in from that special segment.

I hope I was not so stupid as to post that link wrongly. Over this past week one of the local cable channels, Turner Classic Films, has been repeatedly broadcasting Forrest Gump. That's stupid.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Insanity, falsehood, and mob incitement has a face and name.

This link.

I had come to believe people like Michele Bachmann were lower-intelligence throwbacks. Now there is this.

This link.

Is it serious, or is it a put-on that got CNN to bite and not spit the hook?

My guess, liberals will take the story seriously while conservatives will dispute it.

New Sidebar Straw Poll - Minnesota Senate District 48

There are three DFL challengers, with Mike Starr having run last cycle.

Mike Jungbauer is the incumbent, with one GOP challenger.

The poll will be open for reader-visitor voting until noon, March 15.

I have posted a few items already about candidates and will do more posts between now and DFL Senate District Convention, March 16. In posting I shall be mixing personal opinion and fact, but I will try to be careful that any post containing both is clear enough on distinguishing one from the other.

If I err on any factual statement, please let me know ASAP to correct things. Use the sidebar email or leave a comment. Comments are being moderated, so deliberately stupid and pejorative things get rejected - but I am patient with thoughts on point and I urge any of the five candidates in the straw poll to pay attention in order to spot error, and to comment freely.

Friday, February 26, 2010

EPA holds Polymet Draft Environmental Impact Statement deficient.

Earlier I posted on the matter of sulfide mining risks and Polymet, the Carlson bill, our precinct caucus resolution, the Friends of the Boundary Waters viewpoints, and how I would prefer seeing Tom Bakk, (and Tom Rukavina) strongly endorse not only the job potential of doing it, but safe practices and escrow assurances in the event it is done.

This is an update. Duluth News Tribune,here, among other news outlets reported that the firm's draft environmental impact statement was held deficient by the EPA. The EPA acting regional administrator's paperwork on the deficiencies is online, here.

A site criticizing Sen. Franken for being too much an unquestioning cheerleader, here. No surprise, the same item notes Oberstar endorses it too.

Earlier with suitable graphics, during the Coleman attempt to hold onto the Wellstone seat (pre-election, pre-recount), the Masabi Daily News was quoted in Crabgrass, here, endorsing Coleman, not Franken, stating:

Coleman has been a champion of mining initiatives, including his wholehearted support of non-ferrous ventures of PolyMet near Hoyt Lakes and Franconia Minerals on Birch Lake near Babbitt.

At least that dimension of things is history, even if Al's off-base on protections in being too much a champion of the cause. And that site jumping on Al, the Lake Superior Mining News site, looks generally interesting - on mining news "up north."

I suppose that wraps it up, except for the hope to have a seasoned and most respected Minnesota voice on mining issues weigh in, the screenshot being from this link. Click the thumbnail to enlarge and read. I have little doubt that Strib or PiPress would gladly accept any opinion-editorial item that Judge Lord might have time to author, about the newer nonferrous mining issues, and how his experiences with taconite mining might convince him of the best way to proceed when some of the environmental harm issues differ, but are of an equally serious nature.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This notice was sent by a new friend, Laurie Olmon, a city council member of City of Nowthen, a town neighboring Ramsey.

as always, click on an image to enlarge it and read

That's the notice. It said let friends and cowokers know. This post lets readers know. For those unfamiliar with MnCAFE, learn about it. Click the thumbnail at left, to read. The opening item, (if you can read the fine print), is published from one of the MnCAFE sites, the home page. Links are at the end, for it and the blog.

It is a new organization and effort to me, however long it has existed, so I will not pretend to say anything really helpful.

Instead, check the links below. Explore the sites, and show up at the meeting.

I apologize for getting it posted late, but this was an unusual day; things happening.

This Yahoo user group.

This Google.

CPA Bruce Bergley will run for a Connexus Energy board seat. He is a board candidate who can track the numbers and uncover inefficiency or waste.

I have known Bruce now for a number of years, and for those not knowing him, there is contact and screenshot, info, click on an image to enlarge and read, or visit the website links at the end of this post.

Bruce has run his business since 1993, serving the north metro and small business accounting needs. As a former charter school board member he has experience in dealing with public service operations; and his careful and methodical approach will assure that he can and will watch for waste or excessive expense and work to minimize or end it, wherever found, whenever found. Connexus Energy is a big power company operation, serving seven counties and over 120,000 ratepaying cooperative members. It is bigger than any other electric power distribution cooperative in the State of Minnesota. But it is not too big for Bruce to take on, and no part of the job will be too small or unimportant for his attention. He will be your board representative - not picked for the post by insiders already in control. He can attend to your interests, once elected, since he will owe his seat on the board to nobody but the ratepayer-members of the cooperative who will have voted him to the position. He will owe it to you, and will not forget that.


And if you have any questions, Bruce can be reached during most working days:

10026 University Ave NW
Suite 106
Coon Rapids MN, 55448


web links:

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Maureen Reed campaign in the Sixth Congressional District Remains Positioned to Challenge for Endorsement.

While it appears fairly certain that Reed will run in a primary if not endorsed, this past Sunday the campaign released a press-public emailing:

Here’s what happened yesterday in the 6th Congressional District endorsing conventions: we received a majority of the eight delegates available from Senate Districts 17 and 53. In the largest Senate District convening yesterday, 19, the “Reed for Congress” named subcaucus was twice as large as any other subcaucus, and we were able to tie Tarryl Clark in the delegate count there.

We are so excited that delegates are open to our message of Maureen’s real world experience and common sense solutions. We are having a great time at all the conventions and want to thank everyone for their commitment to changing the way Washington works.

Maureen and Tarryl Clark also participated in a debate in SD19 where they discussed electability, creating jobs, and health care. We want to thank everyone in SD19 who helped to make this debate happen. It is so important for delegates to get the chance to see the candidates square off on the issues that matter to them. We certainly hope for more debates and know Maureen will say yes to every invitation she receives.

In the past few weeks we participated in conventions in Benton County, Sherburne County, SD18, and SD49. While we are still in the early stages of the endorsement process, we have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received so far.

We have been told time and time again that we do not stand a chance in the convention process. But we know it is important to participate, regardless of the result, out of respect for the DFLers who donate their time and energy on our behalf.

I like the tone of the communication as much as any of the detail. It is promising of a "take the high road" campaign from both the Reed and the Clark people, in this instance from the Reed camp.

While Clark is a very sound candidate and appears better positioned with DFL insiders, the union endorsements indicating that, Reed is a very bright and savvy candidate who, if elected, would be less dependent on alliances within the two party system in Minnesota, and more independent to think about those who have befriended her campaign in diverse ways, but without owing anyone any favors and probably with contributors not expecting anything that way. Clark has shown her agenda is sufficiently in line with some powerful and supportive voices within the DFL, but there, also, I have not seen any support suggesting any quid pro quo as much as support for past record and achievements and belief in continuity.

It will be an interesting period between now and convention decisions, and, the ultimate test, the general election. The key would be, if there is a DFL MN 6 primary that support tighten after that point for the winner, because more Michele Bachmann would be a shame with two far, far superior options this cycle. Hopefully any primary would be focused on Bachmann deficiencies and who in replacing her offers more promise as a Congressperson, by emphasis from each DFL candidate of positive aspects she offers, without any negative dimensions except in terms of the job Bachmann has done. Reed and Clark each have such outstanding statures that each can tout, without having to say much at all about the other. That is a most fortunate thing where the goal is to unseat Michele Bachmann.

The Klobuchar victory numbers, by county indicate that Stearns was barely 50% for Klobucher, but Wright and Shereburne were decisively pro-Kennedy, the only part of the Sixth District he won. I realize that does not answer the debate in the comments, about Clark's Senate district, but it's all I have and the source page is no longer up at the Secretary of State's website. This link. Does anyone have the Klobuchar-Kennedy breakdowns by Minnesota's Senate or House districts, ideally in a map format? I think it was posted at the SoS site before last election, but they change things, as soon as you get used to a layout, it's different. Any reader help would be appreciated.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SD 48 Peter Perovich, running DFL, lives in Ramsey and was visiting door to door.

Mike Starr ran last cycle against Jungbauer; and while Jungbauer spent a ton of cash on mailings, the household getting a lot and the indication being Jungbauer had worries, Starr was close but short of riding the 2006 landslide, including the Klobuchar coat tails that drew strongly that election in SD 48, and throughout MN 6.

He has two promising challengers for the DFL run this cycle, Laurie Olmon, a city council member in Nowthen; and Perovich, with the headline indicating this post is primarily about Perovich.

CFB pages for the five candidates, first the three DFL candidates, in alphabetical order, then the two GOP, in alphabetical order [note that three, Olmon, Starr, and Jungbauer have website links listed with the CFB], click a candidate's name for the CFB page - it tells you how you can send cash -

Laurie Olmon,
Peter Perovich,
Mike Starr,
Mike Jungbauer,
Paul Motin.

I don't know how serious a challenger Motin is (against an incumbent in his party); but the DFL challenger selection appears fully in play, with Olmon and Perovich as new faces, each being personable and promising, while Starr is better known from past effort.

My hope would be the DFL prevails, and Mike Jungbauer can be retired fully to the private sector where he can set up a global warming skeptics think tank. Sort of what Slade Gorton did after losing his US senate seat in Washington and getting into Discovery Institute mischief.

Perovich in door-knocking visited the home and while others were out I had a chance to speak at length about issues and feelings, and he is a sound individual. Olmon had an open house last night at the Nowthen city hall, and that allowed me and my sister a long opportunity to chat. I have only met Starr briefly, at precinct caucus, and he was busy trying to give everyone fair and equal time so we did not talk much.

I have literature from Olmon's session, and will scan and post it. Perovich left a flyer nicely going on record on the issues in a bullet point manner. It was scanned and is posted below [as always click the thumbnail image to enlarge and read].

Union bug and all. He is being advised. With it printed he probably has an intent to reach many people, door knocking and probably with follow-up mailings.

The Olmon item appeared as if it was mastered by her or campaign people, and printed in limited numbers from a laserjet on an as needed basis, in trifold mailer form, but without any mailing service indicia where that, or a stamp would go.

Again, the seat's in play with sound DFL candidates awating the March 16, Senate District Convention. Jungbauer is a personable enough man when talking face-to-face, but his record and world view are so vastly different than mine that I favor a DFL victory, strongly. Both Olmon and Perovich were impressive to talk to, each appearing sincere, informed and ambitious in a good way, and as trustworthy as you'd like every candidate for office to be, every election.

Without any qualifications or qualms, I could support either of the three DFL hopefuls in the general election, depending on which ultimately is the candidate.

Closing note, The Mike Starr website, here. The Laurie Olmon website, here.
Have a look. Be informed.

I have not asked any of the three about endorsements, I generally don't go by who says "Great person," and I might be prejudiced if a candidate mentions a name that rings my bell negatively. So in general I discount endorsements. Especially union endorsements, not because I have any anti-union animus, I do not and when I ran against Tom Gamec for mayor of Ramsey in 2004, I had union endorsement but did not make a big point of it. But union leadership often is within DFL insider boss structure, and can commit wrongly, or that's been my opinion is the past. Their decision making is political, in ways I am not privy to, so I leave that to people who view it as important. I realize that union-endorsed candidates up-ticket can have a distinct volunteer GOTV advantage, people willing to help, but others have phone bank voices and mailer-stuffers too.

Have you noticed how God is used as excuse for ambition, but seldom gets credit for quelling an idea? God should get a broom and sweep SD 48 next.

Screenshot, this link. It would not surprise me to see strong support for wanting God to consider gender equality in SD 48. However, God might need to kick start a few to counter established habit and beliefs. Remember the Ninteenth Amendment is less than a century old. For those liking timelines, here or here.

I can only speak for myself, not others.

Yet, I would enjoy seeing myself represented by a state senator wanting to:

-- Challenge disparity

-- Acknowledge diversity

-- Require accountability and transparency

.............more on that later...............

Remember, with little else said beyond a repeated challenge to global warming, after a while the script becomes trite.

That is especially so, if the importance of accomplishments and alliances gets downplayed in the trumpeting; as if local "accountability and transparency" were of no equivalent concern to local folks; as if "disparity" were not a governmental concern, but private sector trickle down somehow were a natural thing doing what's best for all and best not questioned.

That is an interesting town adage. They used to be able to say that about Ramsey. But Met Council, and local greed happened.

This link.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coincidental photos.

Paul Thissen. He appears sound, and per this email text, he says the right things. A good candidate.

I have not checked but this probably is also a news item on the campaign website. He clearly distinguishes himself from the Pawlenty heartlessness with the most vulnerable, who don't vote for GOP mediocre offerings, and hence from the ambitious itenerant's viewpoint, are fodder for under-the-bus disposition.

May he find himself in need some day, and bump into his own cruel policies.

For nearly a year, the moral outrage has been building. When Tim Pawlenty vetoed GAMC last spring, he crossed a moral line. Pawlenty unilaterally declared that he didn't care about Minnesota's most vulnerable citizens. He sold out 8,000 veterans, leaving those who fought for our country to fend for themselves.

I was outraged last spring and I am offended today. And I turned that outrage into action. For nearly a year, I've traveled the state, talked to people at hopsitals and doctors, listened to those who rely on GAMC for their medical care, and worked closely with leaders in the faith and progressive community to build action from our collective outrage. Yesterday, action that stemmed from outrage earned a victory when the Legislature voted nearly universally to restore GAMC.

The victory wasn't narrow, but it was short-lived. While accepting big checks at a fancy fundraiser in Washington, D.C., Tim Pawlenty ignored Minnesota's moral objections and vetoed GAMC. As Minnesotans, we are rightfully furious with Pawlenty's veto. He is out of touch at best and morally bankrupt at worst.

We have 2 options. We could walk away, let Pawlenty claim victory, and leave the most vulnerable Minnesotans to fend for themselves. Alternatively, we can stand up, we can call legislators - Democratic AND Republican - and demand that they support a veto override, and we can work together to reclaim Minnesota's moral authority.

In the short term, this fight is about restoring GAMC to Minnesotans who deserve the dignity of care. I urge you to be a part of this fight by calling legislators and encouraging them to override Pawlenty's veto.

But in the longer term, we must stand up against the philosophy that says we're on our own. That philosophy is bankrupting our state - both morally and economically. We need to declare loudly, with one voice, that in Minnesota we care about our neighbors; that we don't sell out our veterans in Minnesota; that in Minnesota, we don't kick people when they are down.

It's time that we have a Governor in Minnesota that stands up for what is right.

Tea Party malcontents have cause to fear an attempted GOP hijack. Now with all that right-wing noise, what about progressives?

This link, mid-story.

This earlier Crabgrass item.

Will it swamp the GOP, or vice versa?

A progressive awakening should be next. Neither of the two parties represents those who have progressive thoughts. The Dems simply take them for granted. As in, where else would they go?

It is insulting. It is making me think more and more that primary challenges in Minnesota have value. Do I identify more with Mark Dayton? He has the opportunity to bypass certain obstacles, and does. Others without the bankroll are stymied.

It makes me think about the Sixth District DFL primary, which has a bright challenger facing a bright legislator. I see it as good for the DFL and the District. Not a problem. I hope it is a well-contested, close race. Closing ranks afterward, given Michele Bachmann as opponent; that should be a no-brainer for whichever of the DFL candidates gets fewer votes. I started out liking Clark. Reed looks better and better, and the name Tinklenberg surfacing as it did just adds to Reed's appeal.

The man has no conscience. Override the veto, or lack a conscience yourself.

That is just a true statement, for every individual in the legislature.

This is an opportunity for candidate Tarryl Clark to show leadership.

To show strength.

To lead, since she is suggesting we should think of her as a leader.

Or not.

Yet again, this characterizes the man who thinks he's outgrown the office as unfit for it.

Since the one positive thing to say is he's exiting and a short-timer, I moved the governor straw poll to a more prominent position and extended it as open until end of the month.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marketing and brand recognition. Two heads are better than one.

NY Times photo, this link.

Today's puzzle - Here is a substantial block of text. Can you identify the source?

Here are the reasons for this request:

1) The public option is overwhelmingly popular.

A December New York Times poll shows that, despite the attacks of recent months, the American public supports the public option 59% to 29%. And a recent Research 2000 poll found 82% of people who supported President Obama in 2008 and Scott Brown for Senate last week also support the public option. Only 32% of this key constituency is in favor of the current Senate bill – with more saying it “doesn’t go far enough” rather than it “goes too far.”

Support for health care legislation started to fall as popular provisions like the public option were stripped out and affordability standards were watered down. The American people want us to fight for them and against special interests like the insurance industry, and it is our responsibility to show them that their voices are being heard.

2) The public option will save billions for taxpayers, speaking to the fiscally-responsible sensibilities of our constituents.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the public option will save taxpayers anywhere from $25 billion to $110 billion and will save billions more when private insurers compete to bring down premium costs. The stronger the public option, the more money it saves.

By including the public option, we can simultaneously reduce tax increases and the deficit. This is a common-sense way to temper the frustration of Americans who question whether Congress is spending their money wisely and fighting for the middle class.

3) There is strong support in the Senate for a popular public option.

It is very likely that the public option could have passed the Senate, if brought up under majority-vote “budget reconciliation” rules. While there were valid reasons stated for not using reconciliation before, especially given that some important provisions of health care reform wouldn’t qualify under the reconciliation rules, those reasons no longer exist. The public option would clearly qualify as budget-related under reconciliation, and with the majority support it has garnered in the Senate, it should be included in any healthcare reform legislation that moves under reconciliation.

RAMSEY - Anoka County buying land for yet another "express" stop?

How the county operates is known to insiders. $2.6 million. Fair price or foul? How much per acre? Location, location, location?

You tell me.

This Strib online report.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What is your impression of this poll?

I read it as bipartisan disdain. The GOP seems to come out worse. Disdained more.

But people are dissatisfied.

This link. Hat tip to Gary Gross for the link.

I don't know if it is a response to the public's expressions of exasperation, but now there's these letters to Reid.

From both houses, letters.

Reconciliation. Growing legs.

Franken signed.

But it's far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far from single payer. People want single payer.

This movement is an aspirin for cancer. Better than nothing, not impressive, more like a shell game.

Giving benefit of doubt, the cartoon is correct. Being realistic, Oliver Steinberg is correct.

The cartoon:

If the cartoon is wrong and it is not spinelessness, then it must be what duncery, or despite any contrary rhetoric a liking for the venal, mandacious, meritless, and negotiable alternatives to doing right? Steinberg seems inclined to believe things that way.

At his weakly clairvoyant blog, Steinberg notes in a lead-in that he was solicited to contribute to assist reelection of Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (reputed net worth between $5 and $14 million dollars), and Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Rockefeller for all that implies, (reputed net worth of between $60 and $128 million dollars). And when again solicited by our own Al Franken, he wrote replying:

Jan. 29, 2010

Dear Senator Franken:

When FDR took office in 1933, he said: "Our first priority must be to put people to work." By contrast, President Obama's first priority appeared to be bail out Wall Street, closely followed by cutting a deal with the insurance racketeers to concoct an insurance industry bailout and call it a "health reform bill."

I am sick of Democrats selling out, caving in, rolling over, kow-towing, and betraying the people who elected them. (Al Franken, for example, voting for the so-called Patriot Act.)

Not one dime will I contribute to the Democratic congressional or Senatorial candidates this year--anywhere!!!!

In 2000, George Bush and Dick Cheney LOST the election by half a million votes. But they got into the White House anyway, and immediately began pushing through what they wanted. And they got it, without any "60 vote margin"--in fact, they got it despite a Democratic majority of the Senate.

No excuse can explain how the Democrats, back in the White House, and holding solid majorities in House and Senate, still won't stand up against the economic royalists and bring ordinary Americans the change you promised.

In every political conversation, people ask me, "Why are Democrats such wimps?"

Words are cheap. So don't make promises. Don't make excuses. And don't have the insufferable gall to ask us for money! Don't kid yourself about any "core support"--that core is 100% disenchanted, disillusioned, disappointed, and disgusted.

Oliver Steinberg, St. Paul, MN

p.s.: Taryl CLark isn't going to beat Bachmann in the 6th district--a district gerrymandered for the ultra-right. In fact, this will be a great year for the Republicans. Not because the Republicans have ANY merit at all, but because Democrats by their craven ineptitude and spinelessness have FORFEITED the trust and support of the people.

Steinberg also gives us a Truman lesson, words from the man who won the 1948 election running against Dixicrats in the South and who in 1949 by executive order desegrated the military, and who also knew in advance of the likes of Joe Lieberman and Max Baucus; Truman on May 17, 1952, saying:

I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the Fair Deal, and says he doesn't really believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign . . .

We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party.

Which of your friends to agree with? The cartoon being generous and alleging spinelessness as motive, or whatever (the blog caption and cartoon do not exactly track), or Steinberg, alleging worthlessness and deceit?

I agree with Truman that Pelosi and Reid provide deficient leadership. Obama is no Truman, Biden less so.

As to basic character and motives of the substantial majorities in each House, there I agree with my friends.

Consider this post, source of this image:

And if duncery is at play, it is among the electorate, with this above displayed trickle down truth showing a great drought at the bottom, i.e., beyond the top 15-20 percent proving that if people knew what was good for them they would demand reform of the two-party charade and candidates such as Wellstone and Dennis Kucinich who would stand with the numbers, population wise, and not like most in DC who stand with the numbers, money wise. In Mark Dayton's words, clean the cesspool, and "Tax the rich." Or go back to Huey Long, who said it as, "Spread the wealth," when proposing a tax beyond income, on wealth itself.

Parts of the GOP, sharpening knives, to yet again go after their own.

This link.

On Feb. 10, and earlier, I posted about the Ramsey city council and it being positioned to mop up a situation they inherited from earlier decision making, specifically a sop to land speculators first and foremost, and to developers - the collective crabgrass on the lawn of quiet enjoyment of life.

Here, here, and here, for example, and earlier.

Well, GOP sorehead and opportunist thinking is hard to quell, and Abeler last cycle had a "conservative" set up to run against him because he voted to break the Pawlenty veto on transportation funding; with, now, reverberations of a repeat; again see, this link.

I recall the Eli Wallach bath scene in Good, Bad, and Ugly, "If your've going to shoot, shoot, don't talk."

That sort of fits the situation.

A lot of fuming and fussing, ending, I may run again ...


I certainly have mixed feelings about the wisdom of another express train stop making, when others pile on for their locales, a milk run instead of an express.

But with the greatest Depression since the Great Depression, this one being the "Bush-Cheney-Coleman let Wall Street go unregulated and fund war adventure on borrowed cash Depression" - a pump priming effort to lessen suffering is sound, and if among 1.2 billion Minnesota dollars, there is a small cut for Ramsey having a choo-choo stop, I see no real harm.

The entire project at ten to fifteen million really is not costly by the measure of capital spending out of St. Paul, not to mention spending levels out of DC.

If the council guesses Ramsey Town Center mop-up might work with more spending, they deserve citizens cutting them some slack.

It's a judgment call, and they faced voters and won election.

Yet, I say that guardedly. Had they not scaled back the obscene original levels of cheap shared-wall housing that the earlier council with its personnel and situated land, etc., allowed and indeed blessed; I would not feel as charitable.

The earlier promise was shops and restaurants, and while that was years ago the newbies finally will have something to point to, Acapulco, to open May 5, the first and so far only restaurant promise delivered on.


I watched the council meeting yesterday evening, or part of it because the Timberwolves on the other channel again were being blown out by another mediocre team, and the council spent innumerable minutes going back and forth, and back again, over purchased plans for a Town Center park including a dumb-as-dirt amphitheater.

But again, cut them slack, the "ready for buiding (but not quite)" purchased plans were from the other folks, it being the earlier cabal that hatched the amphitheater idea.

After saying that, and while I remain very skeptical about the train stop and amphitheater as having any likelihood of success in resuscitating the dead project and then saying let them try anyway; I get back to the opening - the GOP going after their own. RINO hunting, they call it.

Bless them if they do that, but with the GOP's opposition party proving itself so inept when it should be bold, almost suggesting what they've said they want is not sincere, the GOP could flourish this election cycle, and we would be better off if Abeler remains rather than seeing his own party whack him, to replace him with a Luddite.

It is not my party, they make their choices, I only give an outsider's opinion.

Regarding Ramsey elections and not the Minnesota House seat Jim Abeler holds: Should anyone care to run this November by filing at city hall to do so, in July, for the Ward 1 (Elvig) seat, the Ward 3 (Dehen) seat, or the at large (Look) seat, the three openings this cycle, I would be encouraged by that as giving voters an option. Twice before the major part of the development mischief was done I ran to provide voters an option. With the big pipe up north and the market proving how stupid that was for the community to rush through because of individualized greed at the gun club and Hwy 5 at Trott Brook locales, the worse has happened, with growth not decently contained solely to parallel closely the Hwy 10 corridor. Growth has spread like a cancer in Ramsey, as evidenced by the most recent comprehensive plan fiasco (loved by the Hunt family for its potential to their landholdings but not that great in my view for anyone else), in light of all that; let others sit on council or seek to. I offered a choice when it mattered more and the brakes could have been applied, but the voters made other choices. So, while I will not run again I continue to urge others to consider the three seats if in the right ward, or wanting to seek the single at large seat. Diversity and choice are good.

I continue to believe that the current council erred badly in repealing wetland buffer protection, and that incumbents having a role in that should be challenged. Other choices they made, I disagree with as debatable. That step, I detest.

I will continue to criticize it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another interesting blog, two interesting posts.

Here, and here. If you think the ideas are sound and well presented, read more.

An interesting blog post for the 50 cent Republicans.


And a 50 cent Republican is one out of the masses who's somehow gotten two quarters to rub together, and feels that makes him fortunate and elite enough to be GOP.

May they drive off the road while listening to Rush.

Maureen Reed has the same criticism of Michele Bachmann as Clark, with a transcript link.

Both campaigns note the admissions of non-accomplishment that Bachmann made in a St. Cloud Times interview. I learned of both via campaign worker emailings.

Clark has the "news" posted more quickly, which I linked to via this link.

It is good to see two such qualified alternatives to the incumbent discussing shortcomings of the incumbent rather than either sniping at the other.

One, after the DFL primary, will be the candidate going into November and each looks poised to be able to throw support to the other if not winning the primary.

That is good. I recall how last cycle Bob Olson urged all to support the Tinklenberg effort, once it was certain that Olson had not enough support for gaining endorsement. This time there could be a primary, Reed saying she will run and Clark, so far, saying she would honor the endorsement while appearing the front runner for it.

Jason Isaacson's email from the Reed campaign, briefly, indicated [italics being commentary not in the interview]:

Bachmann in her own words:
St. Cloud Times Reporter: Name three bills or amendments that you have gotten passed that are the most beneficial to the people of the 6th Congressional District.

Bachmann: I was involved in a foster care amendment to support and encourage people in foster care. It is a very important issue. Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-La.) and I are working on the Haiti situation. We are trying to put together initiatives so that children can actually go into homes and not stay in institutions their whole life. I was able to pass this resolution honoring people in foster care. I am in the deep minority in Congress and a fairly new freshman, so I don’t have substantive bills that I have passed. I would love to. The very first bill I introduced was the Health Care Freedom of Choice Act.

The Health Care Freedom Choice Act was just introduced recently. What has she been doing for three years?

St. Cloud Times Reporter: The 6th District has had a high level of homes that have been foreclosed on. What role should the government play in that and what is it that you can do as the congresswoman in the 6th District to help people who may have lost their home or may be in jeopardy of losing their home?

Bachmann: It is a real difficult situation for people and it is real tragic. The 6th District has had a high level of foreclosure because we are the fastest-growing district in the state. When you have high growth — we had the highest number of single-family homes built in my area — it makes sense that those are the homes that have the foreclosures. The best thing we can do is turn the economy around. If we can turn the economy around and have job creation and job growth, then people will be able to purchase these homes and stay in them. A lot of the reason we are seeing foreclosure problems now is people have lost their jobs.

But how has she voted to turn the economy around? Bachmann voted against the Home Foreclosure Relief bills, against the Credit Card holder bill or rights, and against Wall Street Reform.

St. Cloud Times Reporter: How interested are you in working with the Democratic majority in Congress and the president in passing legislation?

Bachmann: Very. Now the Republicans are in the deep minority. Although the American people have been rejecting the policies that have been coming out of the Obama administration in poll after poll. The American people have said very clearly they are rejecting the job-killing government takeover of health care. It’s important to remember we serve the people. We make our decisions by the consent of the people we serve.

Bachmann injects fear and anger in politics to paralyze debate. She claims she wants to work with Democrats, but decided go to a fundraiser in California instead of attending the House Republican’s question and answer session with President Obama.

Read the whole article here.

There was a bit more detail there than in the Clark email, Clark hit the website first with a "news" posting; Reed linked to a transcript; Clark linked to a video. On the Reed link, it appeared to be a tracking link, so when in the above quote I made it a hot link it was to the direct story, not again putting readers through a tracking exercise, which I detest.

So, personal preferences - style, Reed gets the bigger hat-tip for a more informative email, and for linking to a transcript. The Clark campaign might note that district voters closer in age to Reed might be more like me, a curmudgeon who uses the internet for reading and the TV for TV. How the demographics of older DFL votes divide might be interesting. First older people vote, and that counts in a primary where turnout is usually lighter than in a general election. Second, while Reed and Bachmann appear to chronologically be the same age Reed lacks the vanity of trying to look younger than she is. Clark, younger than both, appears closer to Bachmann in age, which I think is untrue.

Do older voters identify with older candidates? McCain in the Sixth proved that it remains GOP-heavy, but the contemporaries I have, with one exception, had the sense to go with Obama.

My guess, Clark in closer than expected endorsement voting, getting the institutional backing [money] then, but a dead heat in the primary. That is where Bachmann's challenger will be identified, not in endorsement, and Bachmann's ginned up negative advertising minions and friends will have to wait for certainty.

Finally, everyone should read Maureen Reed's op-ed that Strib carried over the weekend, online here, on the cost control part of the healthcare debate, thus still unclear on single payer, public option, Minnesota having opt-out capability, and all policy dimensions where Clark has been fairly quiet also. I do not see any strong endorsement of the Minnesota Health Plan, as among the DFL governor candidates; and with equal reticence that way from both camps I would go with Reed's experience in the field, while Clark's appeal is having already run for office, won, and legislated. Both women have exceptional resumes, and Bachmann pales by comparison.

After more consideration I go a step further, Reed is explicit in the Strib item, this being the gist:

As the national spotlight shifts to the crucial area of putting people back to work, we must remember that job growth hinges not only on economic policies, but also on addressing the impediments to job growth like our soaring health care costs. Small and large employers alike cannot expand when they are crippled by such costs.

We need common-sense solutions to cover all Americans with a basic set of benefits.

As a doctor practicing in the Twin Cities, I've seen patients recover from terrible diseases because they had access to top-quality care. On the other hand, during my 12 years at the Fremont Community Clinic in north Minneapolis, I've seen patients die from treatable illnesses because they lacked basic health insurance.

Comprehensive reform must include a basic benefits package for every American, must cover preexisting conditions, and must emphasize prevention and achieve payment reform.

Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree that cost controls must be a foundation of any health care reform bill. We don't need another dime, let alone another trillion dollars, in health care; we need the trillions already in the system to be spent more effectively so we can invest our resources in education, transportation and paying down the debt.

Payment reform must be a cornerstone of our health care efforts.

Language such as, "a basic benefits package for ever American must cover preexisting conditions, ..." is not equivocation. It is universal care. It is endorsed, (for what it is worth), from this opinion outlet. And the recognition of the healthcare swamp being a swamp that needs draining to not drain all other economic activity in the nation, that also is in Reed's item.

Clark - she has a video. Here and here, per google. I am not going to watch it. If she does not post writing on her website, or get an op-ed published, it's the equivalent of not having a position if you only go, You Tube. That is simply unduly insufficient attention to those who both read and vote. I will not watch a video. Bottom line, repeated, I will not watch a video.

Others might be less inflexible. That's okay with me.

So far, Reed is on record, Clark is on video.

Kids watch videos. Adults vote in primaries.

There is a vast difference. Bag the video, or get support elsewhere. I take offense.

It is an approach and style I dislike. Most certainly, it is not Glen Beck as a policy platform, and Clark remains a viable alternative to that. But Reed's use of text trumps video, with me.

The interchange of money and connections. Pursuit of interchange connections.

Why does the following current MPR reporting not surprise me? Because we've seen that same project touted in the past with continuity of hired former MnDOT paid representation.

Despite lack of MnDOT funds, 'burbs push projects
by Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
February 16, 2010

Political support for the would-be Interstate 94 interchange near Dayton and Rogers may end up placing it ahead of other projects state transportation officials deem worthier.


With no exit near Dayton and Rogers on I-94, traffic zooms right past on what is one of the region's fast growing corridors, much to the dismay of some local elected officials.

The land is filled with thousands of acres of farm fields, wetlands and woods with lots of space for homes and businesses.

Dayton Mayor Doug Anderson said adding an interchange here will unlock development.

"You're bringing a tremendous amount of potential for economic development when we really need these jobs," Anderson said. "And you're serving to maybe help with some of the bottlenecks that are occuring along that corridor and maybe improving the safety."

Anderson and others support what is called the Brockton Lane interchange. However, in a MnDOT interchange competition last year, Brockton didn't make the cut, so there's no money in the pipeline and and thus no plan at the moment to build it.

Even so, Dayton and Rogers residents are leaning heavily on Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., to find federal earmark money for the project.

Both elected officials say they favor the plan and have already landed $800,000 for planning and design. The project could cost up to $30 million.


The interchange supporters have also hired former MnDOT commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg, now a private sector consultant, to advise them.

Tinklenberg argues creating the new Brockton Lane interchange in combination with local zoning restrictions will actually avert the kind of haphazard development that plagues some suburbs.

"Without the'll just develop in large lots," he said. "Kind of sprawled development without the kinds of concentrations and densities that connect jobs and housing, that provide the alternative and variety of housing...and that creates opportunities to support transit."

For decades, Twin Cities home buyers and business owners seeking cheaper land, lower taxes and more elbow room have leapfrogged beyond the metropolitan area's boundaries.

And for decades they and local elected officials have waited their turn for the improved or expanded freeways and highways near their town that will speed their commute or expand development.


There's not nearly enough money to build all the improved and new roads and intersections that people want.

So how do you leapfrog the objective MnDOT view of proper priorities? Do people in your corner make a difference? If so, how do you get that right blend of people? It seems a political as well as a transportation priorities question.

Below are a couple of images showing how old news apparently is still news, although 2007 is not the same as decades ago (first image, from here).

Click on a thumbnail image, to enlarge it and read.

A link.

A suggestion was that I include more of the report, since the present news is that there's little transportation money available and Tinklenberg Group's been hired, again, to bias the priorities in ways not best for the bulk of Minnesotans, but helpful to a handful of Crabgrass developers, wanting and reaching, for more than a fair share. Same MPR item, ending part of story:

Arlene McCarthy, Metropolitan Council's director of transportation services, said most of the projected federal and state money over the next 20 years - 80 percent - will be needed for maintenance - repaving, patching and fixing roads and bridges.

"We estimated there would be only $900 million between now and 2030 for expansion and that's not very much," McCarthy said. "So we want to use that money in a wiser way."

That's about $45 million a year.

Building a new Brockton Lane interchange would soak up nearly $30 million of that amount.

David Levinson, a University of Minnesota transportation engineering professor, questions the wisdom of building new interchanges when we can't take care of what we have.

"We clearly haven't been spending enough to maintain our existing facilities," he said. "That suggests we shouldn't be spending very much on new infrastructure when we have a lot of infrastructure that will deteriorate and be very costly to replace when it fails."

However, Minnesota's transportation history is replete with examples of how local projects rise to the top on the strength of political muscle and with promises of jobs and development.

Supporters in Rogers and Dayton are hoping that's what will happen to their bid for their new freeway interchange.

Wanting and reaching, for more than a fair share. And look who's helping it, again. And why in the world did the Tarryl Clark put out that item with Tinklenberg featured? To me it was a king-sized brain cramp. Not helpful. Others might like the man, but he did have substantial trouble raising cash last cycle until Bachmann's mouth opened late in the campaign, and strangers around the country not knowing him sent contributions.

Michele Bachmann, "I am in the deep minority in Congress and a fairly new freshman, so I don't have substance."

I took liberties. That's not the exact quote.

"I am in the deep minority in Congress and a fairly new freshman, so I don't have substantive bills that I have been able to pass."

Perhaps she sells her colleagues short on being as batshit crazy as she is, so the minority might not be as extreme as she'd paint it. Deep, actually, at least among the GOP.

The Tarryl Clark campaign continues what both Clark and Reed are doing well - pointing out incumbent deficiencies, that quote and commentary around it being their latest effort. This link. [UPDATE - read the thing, it's short, but the focus is the ineffectiveness of the itinerant incumbent - Bachmann this time, but the term fits Pawlenty too. More time on the road hustling distant hustings, than on the job where each belongs, working diligently in ways that matter.]

And what's this, a fifty-eight year old "freshman"?

I think there might have been a more apt word choice.

I think of freshman as something younger, lower mileage.

Moving on, I think it's great how Bachmann has let the grip go on Ron Paul's coat tails, with the story told well, here.

Last Bachmannalia of the day - here, an interesting item about "the shortest census form since 1790, when we took the first census," as one official characterized it. Let me put things first in context, which will be a bit redundant to those knowing Bachmann:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told the Washington Times that she and her family will not be fully filling out the 2010 census forms.

Bachmann, a Republican, said her family will only be indicating the number of people in the household, because "the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."

Bachmann believes the upcoming census to be "very intricate" and "very personal" and expresses concerns about ACORN's involvement in the data collection.

That was, June 18, 2009, this link. Don't misunderstand Bachmann, but in June 26, 2009 reporting she says she was not directly suggesting the Obama administration had plans or was preparing internment camps, this link, only, you never know ...

During an interview this morning on Fox News, Bachmann mostly focused on the danger of her personal information falling into the hands of the dreaded menace ACORN. But at one point, she made a very interesting appeal to history:

"Take this into consideration. If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps," said Bachmann. "I'm not saying that that's what the Administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps."

At this point even Megyn Kelly, who had been gladly dishing out the anti-ACORN talk along with Bachmann, had to take a step back and raise the point that the Japanese internment was a long time ago and we haven't had such abuses since then.

For some context on how this fits into Bachmann's overall worldview, keep in mind that she's previously warned of the threat of "re-education camps" where young people would be indoctrinated into the government's official philosophy.

Well, that onerous over-reaching census thing, what would you expect, obviously you expect Bachmann to change tunes 180 degrees, and meet herself going both ways, by at some point saying the census form appears to not be long enough, the Monday, February 15, 2010 "Tea Party Michele" revision of her vision being:

"The one question missing from the census is 'Are you a legal citizen of the United States?'" Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said. "We have no data on how many people are here illegally in the United States. That would be a good piece of information to find out, yet this census form doesn't do that."

I guess needing that information is important, should internment of "these people" ever become, you know, popular and something Bachmann could step into the parade front for, or in fairness, there are other reasons to know about "aliens."

And on that alien-related note, would you really be surprised if the next Bachmann mouth-milestone would be her saying, "The galaxy is on Orion's belt"?

credit for the deep minority party pic, here, as the underlying image used here

The Bachmann choice of Ron Carey to head her reelection campaign is not universally popular, see point (3) at this link. Heat in the governor's race continues, here, with one candidate in third place dropping out without endorsing Siefert or Emmer, here. That party lives in interesting times. Why is it that having the two party system in Minnesota appears to give us two daytime soap operas on different channels? Down ticket, will it get names mixed up? A big question for DFL Senate District 48, who will be the endorsed candidate for the district after the March 16 district convention?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Google should fire Todd Jackson and they should have done it yesterday.

New York Times reports:

February 15, 2010
Anger Leads to Apology From Google About Buzz

Google moved quickly over the weekend to try to contain mounting criticism of Buzz, its social network, apologizing to users for features that were widely seen as endangering privacy and announcing product changes to address those concerns.

Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, wrote in a blog post on Saturday that Google had decided to alter one of the most-criticized features in Buzz: the ready-made circle of friends the service provided to new users based on their most frequent e-mail and chat contacts in Gmail. Instead of automatically connecting people, Buzz will in the future merely suggest to new users a group of people they may want to follow or be followed by, he said.

“We’re very sorry for the concern we’ve caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback,” Mr. Jackson wrote. “We’ll continue to do so.”

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said his organization still intended to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission this week pending its review of Google’s changes.

“Even with these changes, there is still the concern that Gmail users are being driven into a social networking service that they didn’t sign up for,” Mr. Rotenberg said in an interview on Sunday.

Google also said that it would create a new Buzz tab in Gmail’s settings page to allow users to hide Buzz from Gmail completely. The page gives users the option to disable Buzz, deleting their posts and removing their Google profile, which in many cases listed publicly their circle of contacts in Buzz. The new feature could address concerns that disabling Buzz and removing a public profile was a multistep process that confused many users and that some described as a game of whack-a-mole.

In the next two weeks, existing Buzz users will be directed to the new start-up process to give them a “second chance to review and confirm” the people they are following, Mr. Jackson said.

The changes Google announced on Saturday will be carried out in the next few days.

Marc Rotenberg, go for it.

That was an astoundingly coarse thing to do to people who agreed only to use the Gmail product, in exchange for Google putting unobtrusive ads on part of the screen.

Google has the gall to criticize Chinese hackers while pulling this stunt.

That Jackson head should have rolled over the weekend, within hours of the offensive product roll-out. Nothing short of that would convince me Google has the proper upward slope to the learning curve.

What Google did is inexcusible. I hope the FTC has the courage to handle this thing appropriately, because otherwise it will show the federal government indifferent to consumer abuse by megabuck corporations. Google needs to backtrack, and the government needs to show a bit of credibility too.

Same story, an ocean away, the BBC, here.

I like Marc Rotenberg the more I read of his analysis. From the west coast, here, same story, more emerging detail:

Now Google is planning further updates. It's also going to change how it tests new features, Google product manager Todd Jackson said in an interview Monday.

"We didn't get things right in the beginning. We are working extremely hard to fix that," Jackson said. "We are going to continue working and making the product better as fast as we possibly can."

The mea culpa did not pacify privacy watchdogs who contended that this was yet another example of online companies playing fast and loose with consumers' private information. The Electronic Privacy Information Center said it would still file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday. Executive Director Marc Rotenberg is calling on the FTC to take more aggressive action to protect consumer privacy.

"The bottom line is that self-regulation is not working," Rotenberg said. "Google pushes the envelope, people scream and they dial back the service until the screaming subsides."

Rotenberg nailed that.

The clear Google message, "F*** you very much, we "dial it back" a bit, that's a bone thrown to you dogs, now go away, we know best.

That is precisely why that arrogant bastard Jackson needs to be fired to preserve even token credibility.

Moreover, the "whack-a-mole" characterizing of the required disabling effort built in at product launch also is spot on point, and speaks very loudly about the arrogance and deceit that needs to be fired.

I trust the firm far, far less after their sweet tiny Valentine.

There's a lesson for all in this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

With Sarah Palin at the one Tea time event, and scheduled to meddle in Minnesota for Michele, there is a WARNING.

Not my warning. Their warning, their website, their words and not mine. Click to enlarge and read.

A "false prophets" form of warning, from the Tea Party grassroots movements.

The warning is that unprincipled politicians will attempt to co-opt the movement for votes and contributions, and vigilance is the price of freedom from being hoodwinked.

Friends of the Boundary Waters, and it's policy thoughts about the PolyMet nonferrous mining situation.

The Friends came into existence in the second half of the 1970's when Don Fraser and Bruce Vento, cosponsored "the Fraser Bill," working with Bud Hienselman, the driving force behind the organization and the driving voice at the time for designation of the BWCA as wilderness.

The "Boundary Waters Canoe Area," what the acronym stands for, now is protected wilderness, (per definition of the term under the 1964 Wilderness Act). It is motor free in the interior lakes, and has been so since the Fraser Bill modified as the "Burton-Vento" effort was passed in 1978. See this Google, Bud Hienselman; and this tribute to Vento.

This additional post on the nonferrous mining issue arose from an email to Crabgrass:

I came across a couple of your blog posts related to nonferrous mining (the financial assurance legislation and the PolyMet post) and just wanted to refer you to one additional resource on the issue. The organization I work for, the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, recently produced a 25-minute film about this issue and has made it available, along with our information and resources, at . I thought that if you hadn't come across that website and the film yet, you might be interested. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for your thoughtful insights on this important issue!

Greg Seitz
Communications Director
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
(612) 332-9630

"This is the most beautiful lake country on the continent. We can afford to cherish and protect it." - Sigurd Olson

Well, the family has a number of the original "canoe" posters, a Marschner map, and family activist roots reach back to the early days, the 1970's.

With this final NPR retrospective link, we transition from history of the past to mining history, of nonferrous sulfide ores, that is being made as I write.

The Friends' website had a caucus flyer online, but our precinct ended up passing a lengthier and more detailed statement, this link, so that later in the DFL process alternatives will be available. Whatever language prevails in the party platform, the Carlson bill is key (this link).

The Friends have online a report of their suggestions about the PolyMet draft environmental impact statement, here. There are two links in that item, one is a bad link but the other reaches the 64 page comments document, this link. (I expect the other link will be fixed a day or two or sooner after Seitz reads this post). The three page press release is online, here.


Note: The Friends' three-page press release links to the DNR's page where you can read the entire DEIS, here, and to the already mentioned Friends' comments.

The Friends' website also gives this helpful link on the nonferrous mining issue and pending bills.

All readers are encouraged to inform themselves. Sulfide mining is a new thing, and if the mining is to be done, regulators have to be able to closely monitor and shut down any problematic activity, without need for securing a prior court order but instead with the mining interests obligated to seek judicial review of any regulatory activity they dislike or think onerous.

And there has to be an escrow. Without a financial leash, the animal will break and run as soon as the economically viable ore body is exhausted. The leash is needed. The mining firm is the animal, and the escrow is the leash. More complicated wording is not needed and a suitably strong leash will keep the animal where intended, without being an unnecessary restraint.

Latest on the Minnesota Health Plan, in the legislature, on promotional sites, on John Marty.

Minnesota Progressive Project reports on the plan movement in the legislature, Kelliher and Thissen are now committed as cosponsors.

Related sites, here and here.

MPP again, on recent John Marty activity - rejecting the whispered question, "Yes, he's great, but can he win."

Against Siefert or Emmer, at times where record numbers of Minnesotans lack healthcare coverage and Marty has been the leading advocate for the Minnesota Health Plan that would correct the disparity; how could he lose? Has either Siefert or Emmer been impressive outside of the GOP insider camp [Siefert] and the true believers [Emmer]?

At a guess, neither of the two would differ much from the healthcare musings of the itinerant incumbent governor; see MPP, here.

As expected, the slightly under half a million Minnesotans without coverage do not really exist as real people, suffering, in the views and policies of the itinerant.

The beginning of a plot, for a Quentin Tarrantino film? More Tarrantino than Coen brothers?

Here. Weave this plot into it, and you can probably have a finished Tarrantino script. Think about it all the next time you walk through a full-body scanner at an airport. Or if you ever wonder about communications intercepts by NSA or whoever. And then, mix in a potential Tarrantino subplot, here, along with mysterious Turks, here, or take your pick there of plot threads for Quentin. We live in interesting times.

One thing too fanciful, even for the movies, mysterious signing statements about what parts of laws to follow, from - well, not George Bush, he's retired, somewhere, doing, what? Something?

Norm Coleman, hustling cash flow? If not that, what? Go figure.


Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack are you going from the intellectual frying pan to the fire?

Hat tip to Andy, posting about Bachmann's staff flux, redux. His blog gossip helps outsiders to understand the network of Byzantine generals, a step in understanding their view of empire. I get an impression he is somewhat on the outside looking in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Andy at Residual Forces claims Bachmann's "wean off social security and medicare" is Obama talk.

I will add nothing beyond posting a link, here, other than to say there is the word "Medicare" reported as in the Bachmann statement. Andy's links don't go there.

UPDATE ---- this link.

I think it would be nice if Andy were to look at the Ryan plan, and what he links to about Obama, and make his argument either way, since Eric Black points out there's more Glen Beck and Beck-invented scare=tactic numbers than substance in the Bachmann babble.

UPDATE ---- PiPress reports on Bachmann and reactions, this link.

I never knew a site like this existed. I saw a blog link. I am astounded by all the linkages. I oppose intrusion by law into freedoms of others.

They don't want to pay taxes. They support wars that kill people. They don't care about the welfare of other living, sentient, breathing, walking, suffering true humans.

These people are sick. Sick on mythologies that have caused untold death and destruction in European history, and the founding fathers wanted their beliefs separated from acts and statutes and constraints governments might impose. The founders of the nation, and wave that flag if you agree, treasured freedom.

If that does not mean freedom from those wanting to tell me what to do because someone in a pulpit tells them to want that, there's a problem in their machinery. Not mine. I have enough polls on the sidebar, but I bet I could get response pro or con on this post. No comments relating to this post will be published.

For an interesting view of Christ, capitalism, and curriculum interacting, try thinking about the difference between a "living" Constitution, and an "enduring" one, and get through the entire article, here, to see how insinuation goes hand in hand with direct assault on clear thought and sound education.

So is the truth that Michele Bachmann where she is now is less seditious in impact upon the wall between church and state than had her initial assault for membership on the local school board succeeded, or had her effort been a success, to put thinly-hidden creationism into Minnesota's science curriculum?

Her being the talking idiot-face of a GOP minority is not a threat for now. The threat is in November's outcome.

Bachmann referendum - You can vote in the sidebar poll.

Besides the Governor preference poll, lower on the sidebar, I have featured a prominent Michele Bachmann - voice your choice thing, specifically not aimed at getting into any kind of contest between supporters of the two DFL challengers. This is not about Maureen Reed and Tarryl Clark, and whether one is better than the other. It is a referendum on wanting or not wanting Bachmann reelected. Only that.

Note that the Governor preference poll is open for a week, the Bachmann poll until the end of the month. I think readers need a quick view of thinking of other readers in the one instance, in the other there's more time to pile on.

Minnesota Independent has its, "Is Michele Bachmann an embarrassment," poll. Here. Crabgrass is aiming to see sentiment about reelection, and the poll presumes most having an opinion are Sixth District voters. That could have been an independent question, but a simple quick response poll seemed better.