consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strib has a strangely truncated article on lobbyist money for Governor candidates; the name Siefert being tellingly absent.

This link. When I accessed it I got the "By PAT DOYLE, Star Tribune = Last update: March 30, 2010 - 9:47 PM" time-stamp version. (I could not find any earlier Google or Bing cache for it.)

It ended this way, this third of three page:

[...] But, he [Tom Bakk] added, "I suspect I probably wouldn't have gotten as many contributions if I had said I'm not going to be here next year."

Pat Doyle • 651-222-1210

LAWMAKERS HAVE EDGE IN RAISING FUNDS
Until Sen. Tom Bakk dropped out of the race last weekend, the DFLer from Cook far and away had the most contributions from lobbyists: more than $48,000. Of the remaining candidates seeking endorsement:




[Big f**king blank left here after the colon -- presumably where previously tabular information likely was originally posted before senior editors, presumably, got hands on things and the tablular approach got scrubbed.]




< Previous page

I kid you not.

Three online pages. With a slant. Then ending where a table would have been and should have been placed as sufficient to have told the entire true and unslanted story - a tight, concise table, wholly without bias - the table was scrubbed. Go figure.

The pictures were of nobody but DFL candidates, and unfavorable pictures to boot. Mark Dayton side-lit and shadowed, camera tilted out of plumb put at the lead of the article, headlined this way [between dotted lines]:


.............................................................................
Home | Politically Connected | State Politics

Lobbyist cash flows to candidates with clout

[highly unfavorable Mark Dayton photo]

Lawmakers running for governor often get donations from those who hope to influence public policy.

By PAT DOYLE, Star Tribune
Last update: March 30, 2010 - 9:47 PM
.........................................................................


The STRIB suggestion being somehow that Mark Dayton, in the featured photo spot, was somehow being tied to lobbyist money [and a presumed accompanying wrongful influence]. Yet -- Buried in the story, mid-way, this actual bit of actual truth:


But other DFL candidates like Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton, who are not in the Legislature, receive few if any lobbyist contributions. Republican Emmer's report says he got $125.

This is a sad, sad, sad, awfully sad excuse for journalism.

It slants the story, pure and simple. That brand of "reporting" is a big part of why the family no longer buys the paper.

The table would have had to include Siefert, right?

Table got scrubbed. Go figure.

In the middle of the article the fact that John Marty refuses to take any lobbyist money did not get reported, but buried unsaid, while they used a Marty quote for their smear of other pictured candidates.


"When they say it doesn't have any impact on their behavior, that's bogus," said Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville. "When somebody treats you nicely, that does have an influence."


Tom Emmer saying he got $125 in lobbyist money was reported. Yet, zippo about Siefert, the GOP frontrunner. If Emmer stated any comparative comments about his and Siefert's relative lobbyist contribution positions, or made comments or inferences, it must have not been deemed newsworthy, by STRIB.

Then, another Strib item, a separate post about the upcoming Marty announcement of a Lt. Governor name, look at how they worked the photo of Marty to look dreadful. It looks as if deliberately photoshoped in terms of extreme darkness, contrast, and bad color, to make it look that bad.

As if doctored somehow. If it was not doctored, there should be enough cash to buy a truer set of cameras.

They are slanting "reporting" and need to be called out big time for doing so.

A start -- how much cash has Siefert gotten from lobbyists? You tell me. Strib didn't.


_______________footnote_________________
Compare but two of the photos, one, Kelliher, from the referenced "lobbyist" item and Marty, from the report he would announce a Lt. Governor selection today.


Kelliher, STRIB version.



Kelliher, cleaned up to look decent.



Marty, STRIB version.



Marty, cleaned up to look decent.


Then, look at what, from their presumably extensive photo files, the senior editors picked to use as photos of Mark Dayton and of Matt Entenza.





Give me a break.

Give me journalism.

Not STRIB.

Journalism.

Reed jumps the issue of insurance company conniving about kids. Clark touts respect for past moderate Republicans, working on her stance as a moderate.

Reed at her campaign site, this link.

Clark covered by Strib, this link.

Reed's item cites NY Times reporting, this link.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I am unhappy in seeing no names of the Minnesota House delegation sponsoring this bipartisan resolution even while it provides no answer to lessening military suicide events.

This link for the GPO official Adobe pdf version of the item, H. Res. 1229. It's a House resolution to end the practice of denying a Presidential letter of condolence to families who have lost serving military family members via suicide. It is overdue. It is a step, a small step but a symbolic one, in a proper and civilized direction. I would hope that the resolution gets a floor vote and support of the entire Minnesota delegation, both houses. I quote the beginning, it being only three pages, but the gist is:



Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that
the President should overturn the policy that prohibits
sending a presidential letter of condolence to the family
of a member of the Armed Forces who has died by
suicide.

Whereas suicide is a growing problem in the Armed Forces
that cannot be ignored;

Whereas a record number of military suicides was reported
in 2008, with 128 active-duty Army and 48 Marine
deaths reported;

Whereas the number of military suicides during 2009 is expected
to equal or exceed the 2008 total;

Whereas long-standing policy prevents President Obama from
sending a condolence letter to the family of a member of
the Armed Forces who has died by suicide;

Whereas members of the Armed Forces sacrifice their physical,
mental, and emotional well-being for the freedoms
Americans hold dear;

Whereas the military family also bears the cost of defending
the United States, with military spouses and children
sacrificing much and standing ready to provide unending
support to their spouse or parent who is a member of the
Armed Forces;

Whereas the loss of a member of the Armed Forces to suicide
directly and tragically affects military spouses and children,
as well as the United States;

Whereas much more needs to be done to protect and address
the mental health needs of members of the Armed
Forces, just as they serve to protect and defend the freedoms
of the United States; [...]

It is difficult to imagine a more stressful situation than serving in a zone where an enemy is seldom directly confrontational for regular combat, but with every instant off an operating base open to sniper or IED death or carnage. Surely the military should develop an attitude of recognition and respect for those near or beyond the breaking point in such situations. The notion that only the weak cannot cope is counterproductive, especially where extended deployments and redeployments beyond what an enlisting individual and family may have contemplated at the point of enlistment are continuing, from a GOP to a Dem administration.

Having people with you that can be depended upon is a key morale factor. With people not helped and with a Gestalt of suck it up and perform, the well being of entire combat units is compromised when outdated views of mental health and stress relief needs are entrenched.

There has to be a change of the mind-set in command minds, as a start. However, I am far from suggesting the problem is an easy one to solve. The PTSD situation, including suicide and distancing from family and local frindships that happen when some in the military return stateside, as well as spousal violence in some situations, is yet a separate thing needing attention and civilized help, as much as the problem of suicide during deployment needs it.

Bullhorn Bachmann Bill now has a number, H.R. 4903, the repealer text is unaltered but it spills onto a second page now.

This link. The online GPO official version of retrenchment wishing, with eleven cosponsors.

I cannot be too hard on Bachmann over claims the act is flawed. The act is a mess, for reasons different from what Bachmann Bullhorns about, the major defect being how it is extremely beneficial to the insurance industry, the people that disingenuously all the time said don't throw me into that brier patch.

 Did you notice that after all the mischief was tied up with a pretty ribbon, ASAP Obama went to Afghanistan to distract attention?

It will come out that the people were flim-flammed, and there will ultimately be single payer and cost controls because without either the nation is indecent to the weakest and least wealthy, and without cost controls the rape of the populace, inside and outside of Medicare, will continue. Big Pharma got goodies. Providers got goodies, the insurance leeches got goodies. The people may wake up. They may remain asleep. They may continue as sheep for the wolves, that being more likely than not.

But Michele Bachmann's approach is distracting and divisive and yet a different smoke screen from a questionable Presidential photo-op, bomber jacket and all, into safe areas of the presently favored war forum, press most certainly invited but channeled.


[photos from here and here]

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why does the thread running through these two stories not surprise me? Some distancing and rebuking, one office silent.

First report. Here. Second report. Here.

Let's see. The distancing voices, Cantor, Pence, Boehner, Steele. That's leadership, GOP side, all wanting to say, "Not me."

Fill in the blank. "______________'s office did not comment for this story."

Actual GOP leadership spoke in one distancing voice.

"Intellectual leadership?"

"Problematic." That is a very diplomatic word, encompassing what you'd put into it.

________UPDATE________
Dump Bachmann, on Bullhorn in the ring.

Bullhorn Bachmann -- Bill-killer, Bill-killer. Why, exactly?


So what's the latest Bullhorn rhetoric from Michele Bachmann? Try this:

“It’s no secret, President Obama and Democrat leaders have ignored the will of the people and have chosen to ram through their trillion-dollar health care bill despite the American people’s overwhelming objection to it. It’s future generations, our children and grandchildren who will pay the price for our government’s arrogance and recklessness, and the American people won’t ever forget the irresponsible actions of this Administration and Democratic Majority. After all, government answers to the people, not the other way around. I’m asking my colleagues to join me in repealing this monstrosity of a bill.”

Okay, Ms. Bullhorn, answer to the people. Minn. Independent ran that above press release quote, with this report of a repealer bill in the hopper even before the President signed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," under Bachmann's personal lead authorship-sponsorship, and Minn. Independent also published the following online image of her bill proposal [click the image to enlarge and read]:



Okay, Ms. Bullhorn, answer to the people. Why is bullhorning and Hannitying and Becking not enough, this time, as it's always been so satisfactory in the past?

Is a special ox being gored?

There is a prosperous multi-site local Minnesota business in the background, with all those fine and dedicated Christian employees, read the bio statements, here. Look at each face, matching each employee bio.

Now, if you were prospering from such a thing as this Marcus and Michele venture; the business being "Bachmann & Associates, Inc.," and if such prosperity had put you into a more-than-a-million dollar McMansion in Washington County, would you feel it to be something of a duty to provide healthcare coverage to such a fine employee-group? Previously during Michele Bachmann's first run for Congress it was reported by Eric Black, then with Strib and now with MinnPost but apparently not asking the question again that he asked back then, but it was reported this health provider clinic was not providing health care coverage to employees.

This bill that Bullhorn Bachmann would kill would either tax the Bachmann family clinic, or they would be providing employee coverage. That's what the bill says.

It does not sound un-American to me to expect those making money off the backs of others would have to provide such a just thing as a tax or coverage. Is that overreaching in your view?

I do not know what the situation at that clinic is now, I could guess, but the question now has to be put out for the voters and press to ask, to confront the Bullhorn lady with, "Is the clinic staff now covered?" Yes, would be one answer. No would be the other. Or there could be a lot of Bullhorn slung out without a definite yes or no answer.

It needs to be asked, is the requirement that the Bachmann health clinic provide healthcare coverage what makes this bill "arrogance and recklessness, and the American people won’t ever forget the irresponsible actions of this Administration and Democratic Majority."

In the words of Bullhorn Bachmann's own press release, "government answers to the people, not the other way around."

People might want to know the situation there at that clinic, so Bullhorn lady, shoot straight with no Bullhorn this time, just a quiet simple answer.

Is your own ox being gored, and is that what makes it in your view necessary to solicit "colleagues to join me in repealing this monstrosity of a bill."?

Come clean on the question, stow all the Bullhorn rhetoric, and give a straight answer.


________UPDATE__________
More Bullhorn, straight from the bull. Bachmann on Face the Nation, Bullhorning her facts. Please read the item. It is enlightening. Dump Bachmann siezed on one particular factual falsehook, concerning the New England Journal of Medicine, and I will follow up on that idea and focus.

I have linked to the New England Journal of Medicine, and she misstates, intentionally, that journal's editorial position. See, e.g., here, here, here, or most recently, here and here. To see how this troublesome twit is twisting truth, go to the Journal's back-issue browsing page, and browse backward for a thread of consistent publicly available policy-related content; this link.

These two items from an earlier NEJM issue, from Feb. of this year, here and here; form your own opinion whether the understandings of this journal's editorial staff in choosing content in the first linked item fits in with Michele Bachmann's view of what's best for the Bachmann clinic such as it is grounded in religious mythos, vs. movement from a cottage industry mentality into 21st century practice norms? And does the second linked item resonate with GOP market based love-the-status-quo insurance-industrial complex rationing and pricing, or is it more resonant with applying allocation principles based on some better or at least different measure of ideality and effectiveness?

Go figure.

It is Maureen Reed's professional area of expertise, and she would not Bullhorn you the way Bachmann Bullhorns up her convenient if untrue or misstated facts. Tarryl Clark, while not as learned in the field, is honest and would not Bullhorn around will false made-up stuff either.

There's only one Bullhorner in the Sixth District political pasture. Michele Bachmann.

The ABC online piece about the Face the Nation falsehoods ends, where the question belongs:

"I think that we need to repeal Obamacare," Bachmann continued in the interview. "We need to be all about the American people. That's why I oppose Obamacare and why I believe we must repeal it."

She closed with, "Repeal most certainly is in the best interest of the people because this bill will lead to economic harm if it's left in place."


 Are we left to guess whether she's saying something is in the best interest of "We the People," or in the best interest of the people owning Bachmann & Associates, Inc.? And whose "economic harm" is preeminent in the Michele Bachmann mind?

As Jack Webb said on the old TV Dragnet show, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

John Marty was at the Sixth District DFL convention. That's a reminder of what a good person, and long term progressive state official he has been.

Bottom line: Beyond any doubt, John Marty would be an excellent Governor. That's basically how I gravitated to see him as my own favored choice. Under my perspective you discount all else but - in a perfect world aside from elections and voter uncertainty, who would you like to see have the job?

It was Marty, easily, although there are other really sound candidates I surely would favor over Siefert or worse, Tom Emmer. Yet, I would feel bad playing the "so-and-so would be stronger out state" or "stronger on the Iron Range" or "able to get the Sixth District" or whatever - it is all far, far secondary to who is best for the job so that if elected you would be happiest.

I would be happiest seeing John Marty as our next Governor, in office doing what he's promised.

And with Marty you know the promise is take-it-to-the-bank trustworthy. He's been in office long enough to see what his record has been, what issues are key to him, and to see he's not ever over touted one thing and then left it out of his view once elected.

This screen shot, below, from the Marty Campaign Website; this link; and please go to THIS PAGE and donate. Nobody can run without funding and a person committed to not take PAC or lobbyist or corporate money needs ordinary citizens to respect that and contribute accordingly.


[as always, click on the image to enlarge and read]

A likely outcome in Duluth, a stalemate, no endorsed candidate. In that event my abiding hope is that Marty would continue onward, into a primary. And if the April 23 party convention in Duluth endorses a different candidate, and Marty abides by the endorsement as is likely, then still look at whatever options exist in a primary. With a primary a certainty there will be a choice, in August now, not later. And then whoever prevails ultimately as the DFL candidate going to the general election, remember how bad for the State the Pawlenty years were, and how his veto scratch pen did havoc, and vote against any continuation of Pawlenty-like cloning from the GOP. It was bad. It is bad. It would be bad.

End of rant.

_______UPDATE_______
Not quite end of rant. Tommy Thompson, a Republican former four-term Wisconsin governor and former Bush administration Secretary of Health and Human Services - a no child left behind unfunded mandate maven - might run against another good guy, Russ Feingold. If it happens be sure to send Feingold a contribution - because the GOP would be funding any such challenge with big pots of cash, and losing Feingold in the Senate would be awful. Fight to keep him there. Contribute.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bullhorn?


Stupid bullhorn.

Leather?



Stupid leather.

______________________
Bullhorn, this link. Leather, here and here.

Propaganda. Read about it. Read it. Go the full buffet.

Do your own google, or read about it here and here.

Read it. Here.

Read it. Here.

Read it. Here.

Read it on Crabgrass?

_________UPDATE____________
If anyone noticed, an earlier link was exchanged for a different one. An editorial decision. Some might dislike my changing the link, but it's done. The link itself was fine, on content about propaganda, but the site might offend some people. I'd truly not noticed in posting, only in closing open tabs for a workstation restart.

ACORN would have my vote, if it ran against Col. Kline. But is it old enough to vote?


This link, for the screen shot. A hat tip to Janet O'Connell for the e-newsletter notice. And ACORN, it's a non-profit, but I think any corporation should run, not only the for-profits. It is a matter of fair and uniform treatment of all corporate persons equally.

Question: With ACORN facing bankruptcy, would political office be an asset up for sale in a bankruptcy proceeding of a corporate person? It appears to not be, for human office holders, not explicitly, for sale in any context. Second question: The voting franchise is forfeited upon commission of a felony, by a human, so what rule would govern corporations?

What about a corporate office holder, in a hostile takeover situation? You cannot have a hostile takeover of a human. Why not ban it for a corporate person, it being Supreme Court fancy to equate the two forms of "personhood," and why draw -artificial- lines?

Cargill for President.

Halliburton for Veep!

Wait, never mind. We've already had that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tarryl Clark with a first ballot delegate count of 62% became the endorsed DFL challenger to Michele Bachmann.

Reed previously was on record that she would give voters in a DFL primary a chance to choose. At the Blaine convention, at the Teamsters' hall off Hwy. 65, those who were delegates care more about the endorsement process than outsiders; who probably welcome a primary. And they will get one. For the Sixth District chance to challenge Bachmann in the general election Reed and Clark will both be on the DFL ballot, and so far only Bakk has withdrawn from the governor's race.

If the GOP aligns behind Siefert, the front runner but with Emmer people emotionally involved, and with Bachmann as incumbent, there might be interesting cross-over play in a DFL primary. Perhaps not.

That's about it for BIG NEWS.

Not to rain on Tarryl Clark's parade, but it was only a mystery whether she would get the endorsement on a single or a multiple ballot situation. I still favor Reed and believe she'd be the better challenger to Bachmann and, more importantly, she'd be a better rep. in DC, if elected.

That's not saying a thing against Clark, who would also do an excellent job, if the primary victor and then defeating Bachmann.

The AP was there. Dump Bachmann was there; and has posts up about the Clark endorsement, and about an available audio of an MPR debate between Reed and Clark; respectively at, here and here. MnPublius, here, reports the first ballot Clark endorsement, ending by saying, "I think it’s time for us to put aside our differences and focus on our shared goal of outing Michele Bachmann. Let’s get to work!" I think "ousting" was the intended verb.

Google news, this link.

Nobody else I am aware of has pictures up yet from the session, these are blurry and imprecise but current.

Starting with a wall collage:








When all those Clark people got up on stage, I thought they were going to sing, "The East is Red."












The place was packed. The Tyler Durden in me wanted to call the Fire Marshall to make the event livelier and to add spontaneity. The personality dissociation was not strong or I'd have done it.

________UPDATE________
I was not in the meeting hall all the time. I don't know how many of the candidates for governor were there. I recognized John Marty, Paul Thissen, and R.T. Rybak. It was good to see the Marty people there, and to chat at their hallway table. There was some disappointment among a few of his supporters that a feeble step at changing healthcare delivery was being touted so victoriously in DC. It distracted from the fact that single payer was off the table at the start, that health insurer stocks are booming, that the lukewarm narrowly reaching public option ghost was chased away in deal making, and that the whole thing was, as Business Week reported a half year ago, written by and cozy-okay with the health-industrial complex from the get-go; the remainder being deluding long-winded theatrics. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but aside from that, Joe Biden overstated things over what is,

but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Or signifying nothing special, or sound and fury signifying a big-time hoodwinking of the general public.

There was strutting and fretting, plenty to spare, enough for Hollywood to have produced it.



_________FURTHER UPDATE________
Back to the District DFL Convention, (away from extreme disappointment over what DC people want to shovel out as "reform" of medical matters), as of Monday, March 29, the Clark campaign website in its news section reports on the convention endorsement, this link.

_________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Politico finds this to say succinctly [links in original]:


Published 3/29/10 @ 6:52 AM ET By ALEXANDER BURNS
Minnesota Democrats endorsed state Sen. Tarryl Clark in a district convention to be their candidate to run against Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann this fall. Maureen Reed, Clark's defeated opponent, has previously said that she planned to compete in the DFL's August primary, regardless of the party's endorsement.

Before I get to other aspects of the DFL Minnesota Congressional District convention in Blaine, today, I spoke at length there with candidate Brad Johnson.

I do not mean to be one-sided in coverage and the other candidate, Mr. Colombo, is invited to contact me via the sidebar email. I would be happy to talk at length with him and to post a synopsis. Colombo is an attorney in the Anoka County Attorney's Office over the last several years, having had a full career in the Civil Division. For now here's a picture of candidate Brad Johnson, wanting to be the next Anoka County Attorney with the next one planned to take office after him in the picture also, Brad being on the left. It seems it will not be a female County Attorney this cycle, with Colombo and Johnson being the only candidates I know of.


If you want a regular lawyer picture in a suit with a flag at the side and rows of law books as backdrop, it's not at Crabgrass, here, instead. Everyone already knows what a lawyer looks like, so I picked the other photo from JohnnyNorthside, and make of it what you will. My guess, it was a cold day.

I was in error in an earlier post, here, by characterizing Colombo and Johnson as DFL candidates. This is because the County Attorney position is not a partisan one - Colombo and Johnson are each running without any party affiliation. I understood that, I simply miswrote. Johnson pointed out my error while we spoke, for which I am grateful.


A friend said I had to post that the Colombo candidate must feel like the Curad folks, having to try to take market share from Johnson & Johnson.


Screen shot from this link, showing a part of the ABC Newspaper coverage of Robert M.A. Johnson's retirement, so that the office is open for a new set of candidates after M.A. repeatedly ran unchallenged, (not even by some newly admitted attorney paying the filing fee to get ballot name recognition in the county after hanging a shingle near the courthouse and waiting for the world to show up).


Johnson's double sided 8-1/2 x 11 flyer gives bio detail, see closing scan images. We spoke about criminal case management functions of a county attorney, and prosecuting crime. War on drugs spending priority, vs. putting the severe white collar crooks in the slammer. You can deter crooked business, while crimes of passion and dangerous persons need to be viewed differently - you punish, you warehouse, but you deter where free or easy money on the table is offset by seeing others sent long time behind bars for cheating and lying and stealing with paper and pen instead of at gunpoint. Complex litigation and long trial preparation and conduct is different from working out dissolution property and custody situations, or street crime prosecutions. It is closer to complex business litigation, with Johnson claiming experience in civil law at different larger firms, one in North Carolina.

He's a trial lawyer. That is a special skill, some do it well, others do not. It's a separate skill from administering an agency, but he's seen that side of things via family and working under Klobuchar and Freeman leadership.

We talked about electronic discovery, need of financial and accounting expertise on a trial team, things like that. If you want somebody to keep the streets safe, look to city police and the sheriff, but if you want to have a reputation for not tolerating street crime, domestic abuse, or business crooks, that reputation is built out of the litigation track record. Criminals can move, and coordination between agencies - task force level organization with the drug and gang task force being the thing to not focus upon, it failed, but consider a Ukrainian identity theft operation, using malware to get into home workstations or to hack into bank or credit union servers, and listing compromised credit card or bank account availability for sale on obscure web outlets that knowing criminals in that line of work know of and trust.

You need cooperative multi-tier effort for that, but locally, the bad restaurant employee who runs up a few accounts at Walmart via stolen account info on the job, that's a local take down if you have the evidence. There is a range of sophistication.

Evidence forensics, for computer and phone networks, consultancies in that area and having knowledge of discovery of electronic evidence - Johnson and I saw the field as one that will expand in importance and sophistication in the next decade.

It was that kind of a general discussion, not "Who's endorsing you, who's endorsing Colombo."

At the DFL Senate District 48 Convention, as well as today's Congressional District 6 convention, both candidates spoke briefly.

I am writing about this race because it is down ticket, and without blog attention it would get scant attention and the office is important enough to deserve more coverage.

Again I issue an open invitation to the other candidate, Mr. Colombo, to contact me. I arrived late at the convention, luckily getting a prime parking place because somebody was leaving, but Colombo was the first speaker when I walked in. From a two-minute soundbite presentation it is hard to get any valid impressions. Having talked to one and not the other candidate, it is hard to separate favorable views arising via unequal time from who gave the better very short speech.

Finally, below are the Johnson flyer screenshots, click to enlarge and read. If Colombo provides a comparable item I will publish it also. As far as I can find by Googling, neither candidate has a campaign website up and operational at this point. If any reader learns of either opening a web presence, please send a heads-up email.


Big, big, big, BIG time local Anoka County news. The wind turbine at the highschool on Hwy 116 across from Rum River Library ... it's ...

TURNING.

Really. Finally. Have a look. I saw this awsome event, for real, Friday, March 27, 2010.

Today at about 5 pm getting the mail, a Sandhill Crane flew directly over the house, sounding as they do, like a hard drive that's crashed with a bearing failure. I don't know if the two signs of spring are connected, but one official report on the wind turbines was that lubricant-hydraulic fluid from the California imports had become too viscous in Minnesota weather for the thing to turn over winter. Nice story, even if not true. Wimpy California transplants. All that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Disturbing Messenger.

The screenshot of an email. Click it to enlarge and read. I stay on the mailing list but I am no friend. The "please give" links both go to Tarryl Clark's website's contribution page. Not anything separate, so if you give you know it's directly not indirectly to Clark. Yet, if birds of a feather flock together, the distance between Tarryl Clark and me has lengthened a bit. Not a lot. I can separate who one is from who one accepts assistance from. And the Clark choices are hers to make, not mine.

However ...

Saga of the VA clinic. "Elk River was praised in a letter to top VA officials by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2008."

THIS LINK. The headline quote is from late in the article, reported in Strib, online, by Paul Levy, March 26, 2010.


And with the Sixth District Congressional Rep. Michele Bachmann playing favorites against Ramsey in the VA's north metro new-clinic siting process, (delayed yet again by key personnel changes at VA), what do Anoka County and its people owe Ms. B? A salute of some kind, I suppose.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Norwegianity.

This link. Good stuff. Clearly a mind entirely at rest with everything political and personal.

Sat. March 27, 11 am, Blaine - Teamsters Local 120 Union Hall, 9422 Ulysses St. NE -- DFL District 6 Convention.

That says it all. Nancy Schumacher is still the contact person, until the convention, when she will not be seeking reelection. I am unsure what to expect. I have not covered or attended this level of meeting before; but as part of the blogging press, I anticipate it will be a learning experience.

I could not find any DFL official website info, beyond this link.

I presume there was a mailing that went out to all of the delegates. I have not seen a press release. I looked at MinnPost and MinnIndependent, and found nothing. If something is there, I missed it.

If anyone knows of an online agenda, whether candidates will have perliminary sessions earlier or whether it is strict doors open only at 11 am, please supply a comment.

The Reed website indicates "Emma" is coordinating for them, 612-741-1653.

The Clark website posts the same barebones info I have, in the headline, and does not list a contact person.

On looking at MinnPost and MinnIndependent sites, interesting articles from MinnPost were here and here. The first item, everyone should read. It relates to small community bank and credit union survival, and politics. The second item, it pays tribute to the Michele Bachmann years and what she's done for Minnesota and the Sixth District and what it has gotten us. Really. Have a look.

MinnIndependent items I found interesting, here, here, here, here, here.

The first item ia about a pattern Michele Bachmann established in the State Senate, favoring press attention over committee participation.

The second item should make one recall that Michele Bachmann and the Bachmann family farm in Wisconsin in which Michele and Marcus Bachmann own an interest, has been beneficiary of welfare subsidies and the woman's not raised a peep about us suburbanites in the Sixth District paying in tax cash so her family could take it out in welfare payments for rich farms. But if you want consistency and quality, look elsewhere than Michele Bachmann. She'll rail interminably one time, and the other time, she'll quietly take the cash off the table.

So, members of the professional press, ask the Sixth District incumbent where she is on this issue - the big agriculture issue and how it impacts prices at the grocery store.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scareware. An interesting Reuters story.

I believe it is Reuters. It says it is. Gee, I hope it is not some rogue capture site ...

This link.

These false antispyware scare popups, and "registry scanner" programs can do harm. If you do not know what your registry is, leave it alone, don't click some website scanner advertisement.

There are legitimate programs and if you buy a shrinkwrap item from Best Buy, it likely would never get on the shelf without clearance. If you have problems, hire a professional.

I get advice from ECI, in Anoka County. In Coon Rapids, on University Ave. Enterprise Communications, Inc.

www.eci4networks.com

But it is owned and run by a friend, who I have helped in other ways, so he helps me as need arises.

If you don't have your own friendships, ECI might be of help, but they are a small business service firm, servicing that range of commercial clients, and home repair is a niche they don't necessarily aim at.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alliance for a Better Minnesota, by email, is soliciting action against GOP personal healthcare impediments.

In emailings attributed to Denise Cardinal, Executive Director, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, the advocacy group touts communication with the the potential and actual troblemakers; this link.

See an Alliance item on the Michele Bachmann vote against healthcare; this link.

See the earlier Crabgrass post; this link.

Regarding what the House passed, and the Obama executive order placating Stupak and crowd, some of the younger people don't know what the phrase "over the transom" means. There are not many transoms still around these days. Hefting that big a page package over the transom was no small feat.

________UPDATE_________
A couple of screen shots. Click each to enlarge and read.




This link to join the message passing list.

Brad Johnson, Asst. Hennepin County Attorney gets coverage as candidate for Anoka County Attorney.

Johnny Northside blog has a multipart story, on Anoka County Attorney DFL candidate Brad Johnson; this link. Johnson clearly was a candidate at the March 16 DFL Senate District 48 convention. At present he is not running unapposed as DFL candidate for the job. So, the Johnny Northside post is not news, that way.

But for those in Anoka County wanting background - have a look.

__________UPDATE_________
Paul Levy, over a year ago, this link, had a background story. There's been recent coverage over the last two weeks or so of the decision of Robert M.A. Johnson to retire from the long-time Anoka County Attorney post he has held after his father's retirement. Another DFL candidate, currently an Assistant Anoka County Attorney with years experience in that role is the second DFL candidate, but I do not have his name available. DFL Senate District 48 officials would have that info.

Lori, let me help.

Strib reports yet another GOP unfunded mandate attempt - less gross than no child left behind, but then it's from a littler GOP'er. Here.

I did a first draft email, to help:

To: Gov. Scratch
From: AG

Re: Funding unavailability

I read in the newspaper [Strib online] that you wanted to interfere with my job.

You want my already overworked staff to get into your political dinkings.

Why not stay in-state, and do your job? We each were elected. I stay in state and work. You?

Here's my thought. You want an unfunded political football in my life. Fund it.

Molnau. Cut her paycheck unless you can tell me a single thing she's doing for her monthly dole. If not, put the money in my account and I will produce a white paper on the issue you propose.

Otherwise, take a long walk off a short pier, with your own silly little political anvil tied around YOUR neck.

Rome is burning. Put the fiddle away and work.

vty

Lori

That should prove helpful in moving along the GOP agenda.

________UPDATE_________
Strib posted the letter sent Swanson. Pawlenty is an embarrassment to the State of Minnesota. Here you can click on the thumbnail images to read the silly little Nero item.




Strib posted the Swanson response. I like my version better, but Swanson is a polite person.


The legislation in question still has to be signed by the President and reconciliation has yet to be passed by the Senate.  The individual mandate does not go into effect until 2014.  Our Office has not yet read and analyzed the 2,400 page bill that passed the House yesterday.  The Attorney General’s Office operates in the legal arena and we are not going to make any legal comments until we have had the opportunity to review the 2,400 page bill.


This in emailing from Dennis Kucinich:


Health Care is a Civil Right


Each generation has had to take up the question of how to provide for the health of the people of our nation. And each generation has grappled with difficult questions of how to meet the needs of our people. I believe health care is a civil right. Each time as a nation we have reached to expand our basic rights, we have witnessed a slow and painful unfolding of a democratic pageant of striving, of resistance, of breakthroughs, of opposition, of unrelenting efforts and of eventual triumph.

I have spent my life struggling for the rights of working class people and for health care. I grew up understanding firsthand what it meant for families who did not get access to needed care. I lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17, including in a couple of cars. I understand the connection between poverty and poor health care, the deeper meaning of what Native Americans have called "hole in the body, hole in the spirit." I struggled with Crohn's disease much of my adult life, to discover sixteen years ago a near-cure in alternative medicine and following a plant-based diet. I have learned with difficulty the benefits of taking charge personally of my own health care. On those few occasions when I have needed it, I have had access to the best allopathic practitioners. As a result I have received the blessings of vitality and high energy. Health and health care is personal for each one of us. As a former surgical technician I know that there are many people who dedicate their lives to helping others improve theirs. I also know their struggles with an insufficient health care system.

There are some who believe that health care is a privilege based on ability to pay. This is the model President Obama is dealing with, attempting to open up health care to another 30 million people, within the context of the for-profit insurance system. There are others who believe that health care is a basic right and ought to be provided through a not-for-profit plan. This is what I have tirelessly advocated.

I have carried the banner of national health care in two presidential campaigns, in party platform meetings, and as co-author of HR676, Medicare for All. I have worked to expand the health care debate beyond the current for-profit system, to include a public option and an amendment to free the states to pursue single payer. The first version of the health care bill, while badly flawed, contained provisions which I believed made the bill worth supporting in committee. The provisions were taken out of the bill after it passed committee.

I joined with the Progressive Caucus saying that I would not support the bill unless it had a strong public option and unless it protected the right of people to pursue single payer at a state level. It did not. I kept my pledge and voted against the bill. I have continued to oppose it while trying to get the provisions back into the bill. Some have speculated I may be in a position of casting the deciding vote. The President's visit to my district on Monday underscored the urgency of this moment.

I have taken this fight farther than many in Congress cared to carry it because I know what my constituents experience on a daily basis. Come to my district in Cleveland and you will understand.

The people of Ohio's 10th district have been hard hit by an economy where wealth has accelerated upwards through plant closings, massive unemployment, small business failings, lack of access to credit, foreclosures and the high cost of health care and limited access to care. I take my responsibilities to the people of my district personally. The focus of my district office is constituent service, which more often than not involves social work to help people survive economic perils. It also involves intervening with insurance companies.

In the past week it has become clear that the vote on the final health care bill will be very close. I take this vote with the utmost seriousness. I am quite aware of the historic fight that has lasted the better part of the last century to bring America in line with other modern democracies in providing single payer health care. I have seen the political pressure and the financial pressure being asserted to prevent a minimal recognition of this right, even within the context of a system dominated by private insurance companies.

I know I have to make a decision, not on the bill as I would like to see it, but the bill as it is. My criticisms of the legislation have been well reported. I do not retract them. I incorporate them in this statement. They still stand as legitimate and cautionary. I still have doubts about the bill. I do not think it is a first step toward anything I have supported in the past. This is not the bill I wanted to support, even as I continue efforts until the last minute to modify the bill.

However after careful discussions with the President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Elizabeth my wife and close friends, I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation. If my vote is to be counted, let it now count for passage of the bill, hopefully in the direction of comprehensive health care reform. We must include coverage for those excluded from this bill. We must free the states. We must have control over private insurance companies and the cost their very existence imposes on American families. We must strive to provide a significant place for alternative and complementary medicine, religious health science practice, and the personal responsibility aspects of health care which include diet, nutrition, and exercise.

The health care debate has been severely hampered by fear, myths, and by hyper-partisanship. The President clearly does not advocate socialism or a government takeover of health care. The fear that this legislation has engendered has deep roots, not in foreign ideology but in a lack of confidence, a timidity, mistrust and fear which post 911 America has been unable to shake.

This fear has so infected our politics, our economics and our international relations that as a nation we are losing sight of the expanded vision, the electrifying potential we caught a glimpse of with the election of Barack Obama. The transformational potential of his presidency, and of ourselves, can still be courageously summoned in ways that will reconnect America to our hopes for expanded opportunities for jobs, housing, education, peace, and yes, health care.

I want to thank those who have supported me personally and politically as I have struggled with this decision. I ask for your continued support in our ongoing efforts to bring about meaningful change. As this bill passes I will renew my efforts to help those state organizations which are aimed at stirring a single payer movement which eliminates the predatory role of private insurers who make money not providing health care. I have taken a detour through supporting this bill, but I know the destination I will continue to lead, for as long as it takes, whatever it takes to an America where health care will be firmly established as a civil right.

Thank you.


HR676, Medicare for All, aka the Conyers Bill is the answer. Unless and until it is law, the answer for Minnesota is the Minnesota Health Plan.

Swanson should write that last paragraph back to Pawlenty. It is the bottom line truth in all the smoke and mirrors the White House, Pawlenty, Pelosi, Big Pharma, the provider-industrial complex and the insurer-industrial complex are putting out; along with the reprehensible conduct of Boehner and the rest of the GOP, Joe Lieberman and Bart Stupak and all the Blue Dogs included. They are technically not GOP, instead, they are GOP-lite. Watered down GOP.

There's a depression in the land. Pawlenty's party eight years in the White House precipitated it. Tail end of the second term they loaded the fan. It's been hard times and bad karma ever since. Rush loves it because it has hateful people listening to him. Bachmann can draw a crowd of a few thousand deluded ones every time, but no more, yet for her that's sufficient. The ego would want more but the ego grooves enough on what's available as facilitation for her self esteem trip and validation of her view of herself as having made it as an important person.

You doubt? Here, here, here, here, here and here. Tawdry? Crass? Divisive? A carnival barker? A Gingrich? A Pawlenty of the other gender?

Form your own opinion.

Vote accordingly in the general election if you live in Minnesota's Sixth District.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The photo has been smoking. Not me. Not me. Not me.


Image URL. This site. Here, for those not already spotting the headline. Is that the legislature rotunda as you've ever seen it? With help of a cactus?

That website has some images and coloration enhancement that is worth examining. I am impressed.

I risk repeating myself. But this is the community Maureen Reed comes from. They are bright and understand the issue.

New England Journal of medicine has a number of interesting open access items, posted currently online, this link:

http://content.nejm.org/

Have a look.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Reed Campaign has more to say about the inadequacies of Michele Bachmann and the compelling need to replace her.

This was by a press release email, so I don't know if it is on the Reed website. Go there and look if you care to. I am sure Clark and her people would not disagree. I have not kept up with all the campaign mailings or checked websites. She may have said almost the same thing.

Michele Bachmann continues her campaign to stop comprehensive health care reform that will cover everyone and lower costs. Speaking at two ‘Kill the Bill’ rallies in the past week, she continues to make headlines attacking President Obama and health care reform.

Bachmann’s latest outlandish comments included comparing Obama to Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and calling Obama our first post-American President. She also claimed that if health care passes, citizens should personally declare it unconstitutional and defy the law. Shouldn’t we expect more from our public officials?

The only way to end Bachmann's extremism is to beat her in this election.

Bachmann's rhetoric is widely assailed for inducing fear and skirting the truth. From her rallies against health care to her argument that we need to "wean" people off Social Security and Medicare, these past few months have shown that she values sound bites over working hard to bring affordable health care to those who need it most.

The way Bachmann conducts herself as a Congresswoman not only obstructs meaningful debate, it is dangerous. We need leaders in Congress who will tell the truth and encourage debate, not inject fear and anger into people.

Maureen has decades of real world experience and will be a Congresswoman who listens, thinks, and speaks—in that order.

Maureen Reed has a brain. Michele Bachmann has a will to seek attention. And the item correctly points out how she is getting more outlandish day-by-day, and we, as voters, have to put a stop to it being a strident voice from Congress.

Voting Bachmann out of office likely will not end the stridency. But fewer would have to listen and cringe, as we in the Sixth District, with brains, do now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DFL Senate District 48 - one of the last conventions.

Reed and Clark each did well. Clark probably took a delegate advantage, but I would have to see the numbers to be certain. Reed had generated a number of strong supporters. There is no hint of who the favored governor candidate will be.

There were a lot of uncommitted people going on to be delegates in Duluth.

Peter Perovich, after several ballots defeated Mike Starr, to run in Senate District 48 against Mike Jungbauer.

Laurie Olmon will run in House District 48A. Hackbarth is the incumbent.

House District 48B formed a screening committee after no conference attendees expressed a desire to run.

Jim Abeler is the incumbent.

It took multiple ballots with Perovich and Starr lacking sixty percent. It seemed uncertain about whether one would ultimately get the needed sixty percent. I went there hoping Marty would get a delegate or two. I ended up in a subcaucus that focused on Reed, and she got two delegates from the group. They split on governor, one being inclined toward Marty, the other undecided.

It is a difficult choice, and the primary will be an important event.

Bakk, Rukavina, Rybak, Thissen, Marty, Kelliher and Entenza were all there. Thissen's wife was there too, I am bad with names, but they both seemed like very good balanced people. After Marty, he would be my choice of those contesting the endorsement. I like Mark Dayton, but if Thissen were to end up a consensus compromise candidate at State Convention, if the other camps stymied one another and after several ballots there were to be a shift, I would be hard pressed in a primary between Thissen and Dayton.

Entenza took a delegate. He had a strong bloc, committed early, and staying loyal. It seems that, in general, Entenza has not had much traction in the senate district conventions.

If there is no governor endorsement, it is unclear to me which candidates would drop out and which would run in a primary. A seven candidate primary would be an interesting thing.

____________UPDATE_________
I looked at each race, SD 48, MN 6, and governor, as in an ideal world who would I trust to do the better job. Not that others were untrustworthy, not at all, but John Marty has consistently worked for campaign finance reform, consistently refused contributions from lobbyists and special interests, and consistently been progressive especially on the key healthcare for everyone issue.

Maureen Reed seems to be outside the political loop, and Clark has been in DFL legislative leadership. To me, Reed might show more independence of judgment while Clark might be more inclined to seek out and position herself with leadership objectives were either to go to DC. I think Reed would be better for Minnesota if the impression is true, that she would be more questioning of leadership, as to how an objective might be best for the nation or her district.

Clark's having strong union support makes me confident she would be cognizant of to expectations of union workers, but the majority of workers in the nation now are non-union and I have not seen union objectives as always attuned to this other more numerous bloc.

Reed has ties to the medical community, and the argument can equally be made that she might favor providers over consumers regarding medical services issues. I do not see any of that in Reed's character, as best as I can assess it, that being an inexact thing.

Laurie Olman, my first choice for SD 48 did not have strong support and it became a two-candidate choice from the first ballot onward.

I am quite happy to see Olmon now running against Hackbarth, and all the qualities she has are ones I think Hackbarth lacks. It would be joyful if she unseats him.

Two things surprised me about Rybak.

First, he has as many or more signs to put up than Jim Abeler who has a couple of warehouses full of signs, or seems to.

Second, Rybak supporters and Clark supporters formed a strong bloc of dual allegiance at the SD 48 convention. I held up my "John Marty - Maureen Reed" sign expecting it hard to get a single delegate by linking two names in separate races, and it proved true. Yet surprisingly the Clark-Rybak, (or was it Rybak-Clark), bloc had a quite strong count, gaining two delegates. Whether that was coincidence or by prior agreement and design is unknown to me, and I could only guess.

I and six or seven people, an insufficient number for a committed Marty-Reed delegate count, moved to a Reed = Electability group where one individual seeking to be a delegate liked Marty, but his commitment was to Reed alone.

After voting in the subcaucus, he will be a delegate, and once the convention starts he votes his conscience, we trust that, and he goes there liking John Marty but not committed to do any particular thing, ballot to ballot, but for expressly backing Reed in early balloting. The other delegate is uncommitted for governor but identically committed on Reed. From her civic working and education background the second delegate surely knows of Marty and his consistent record, yet remains uncommitted for governor. Both alternates were decisively uncommitted.

Interestingly, for the subcaucus one delegate-alternate pairing were spouses; the other father-daughter with the daughter being the uncommitted delegate and her father uncommitted alternate. I guess it will be less strain on Duluth hotel bookings that way.

The SD 48 convention was one of the later ones, and because no other districts were convening the same day all the candidates for governor could be there without schedule conflicts.

The DFL Congressional District 6 Convention will be March 27, in Blaine, with the State DFL convention April 23, in Duluth.

I can recall only a few delegates not committed in either race, things like "Labor and Jobs" or such as a banner for grouping, so the District 6 outcome - whether the sixty percent threshold exists entering it or if not how things work out can be handicapped in terms of likelihoods, but there is no sure bet.

Per the latest public statements I am aware of, Reed will run in a primary if not endorsed, and Clark will abide by endorsement. How that translates to actual nose counting in Blaine, and how strongly Clark might consider a change of heart if not endorsed, remain to be seen.

If the District convention hangs short of either Reed or Clark gaining sixty percent, expect a primary.

Poll results in the sidebar. The last poll, the SD 48 DFL one, closed yesterday. Results will be left up until after today's DFL SD 48 convention.

Results speak for themselves. Perovich at twice the Olmon support, Olmon at twice the Starr support. That's SD 48, and the total number of votes being substantially above votes in the other two polls suggests attention was greater, with perhaps one-time visitors sharing a role as well as regular readers. I expect the Bachmann poll numbers is closer to any core readership numbers. There the dislike for Bachmann is apparent, whereas on some GOP website the numbers might flip. The don't care votes are a surprise. With such a polarizing person, don't care is not an expected response.

For governor, it is interesting that the Marty support came in as high as it did. Had I included Rybak, would the distribution have differed? I left Rybak off because of a personal choice, he is okay, surely several notches above Sertich and, well, Emmer is Emmer and we can all complete the thought about the GOP.

Kelliher and Entenza - no surprise on Entenza. He's not shown much traction anywhere so far, and should drop out and leave the primary to Dayton, the endorsed candidate, whoever. But he's got the family wealth, and the will to spend it. Kelliher seems to be second or third, fourth choice to many, I suppose.

Again - my support at SD 48 will be strongest for John Marty.

I believe the Governor race is the big item this year, dwarfing the Congressional seat because the state has eight current reps., but only one governor, and the future will be set in large part during redistricting, especially if a seat is lost.

In that regard, census underreporting will be a negative factor, and Bachmann's anti-census spiel has done no good. That is especially true for the fact that the form this cycle is a quite short one.

Again - I favor Maureen Reed over Tarryl Clark for the House, with both candidates quality people. 


Reed knows healthcare from the inside out. She has in my view the right set of answers and shows the will to take on the issue. It most certainly will not be wrapped up by the current Congress, regardless of what the current pass-something politics produces as a signed-by-the-President reality. Fixing and cost and incentive modifications will be needed. Single payer might even ultimately prevail. Reed, and others with direct knowledge of healthcare such as Jim McDermott of Washington State, will be essential to the vast number of lawyers crafting some final solution that is not unmindful of what the market realities, and the health needs of a nation with aging baby-boomers will be and the implications attaching to that. Clark is a lawyer with legislative experience, and I am not dismissive of that, but DC has plenty with that background in the House already and Reed will bring a background that would diversify things, for the better, in my view.

For SD 48, to run against Mike Jungbauer - I back Laurie Olmon. An interesting viewpoint and approach is always welcome. Olmon does not produce a feel-good shopping list of I will do this, or that, but realistically talks on her website of her background and experiences and what that would bring to the St.Paul hilltop. Having all the answers up front with little or no experience and the reality being that if Jungbauer is unseated the DFL winner would be a junior person learning the ropes, not a leadership person from the start, and Olmon seems best oriented to that understanding.

I have exchanged an email or two with Mike Jungbauer, in the course of gaining as full a response as I could on the water availability issue, and how it might impact growth in the north metro suburbs, and his observation is that of the DFL candidates, without naming names, one has sought him out on issues and concerns, two have not, and the ability to work in a bipartisan manner, to me, is suggested by that as one favored above the others that way. Hopefully, how the three candidates have shown activity before becoming candidates this cycle will be something each will discuss to help enable SD 48 DFL convention delegates to best choose among them.

Olmon has been active on health issues, particularly epilepsy, and on growth because of how it is reaching now, at least in Comprehensive Planning, into City of Nowthen, from the south, from City of Ramsey.

Olmon has been steadfast in support of families stressed by long National Guard deployments in current situations, being spouse to a Guard member. She has shown an intent to advance her concerns in an ambient and not a confrontational or partisan manner. I see her as well equiped to take a realistic and pragmatic attitude to the job, should she win it.

Mike Jungbauer had a close race last cycle from Mike Starr, but survived the 2006 DFL and nationwide benefit in reaction to the ending years of Bush-Cheney mismanagement of the economy and the wars and all else. Whether he will have an easier time this cycle, or as difficult a reelection effort is the future that faces us all having to guess and predict, and in hindsight we can always say we knew this-and-that all along, but that's a falsehood, so why fall into it?

Housing is still a major economic issue. Things in the sector have been so bad, so long, that it's fallen in attention to credit, jobs, and healthcare worry. It is still BIG.

And the factors that put us into the housing bubble have played out, but not the surplus, nor the disruptive foreclosures. Yes, some people bought more than they realistically could afford. Yes, some uprincipled mortgage brokers and appraisers and securitizers fueled the frenzy. Yes, some people went into it with not a housing mindset but a speculative one - we buy as much or more home than we can afford, take the equity boost as larger that way, and move on with a bigger nest egg. Not so, and the speculative part of things, the greed factor, makes it hard to feel sympathy for some now in distress. Of the industry kinds, the builder-developers, the land speculators, the mortgage broker bad apples, the false appraisers, there are many to point at and shame.

However, loan arrangements and credit and community banking have been an economic plus, when not extreme or predatory, and cautioning against throwing out the baby with the bathwater is an old saying with a basis.

Editorializing aside, the latest numbers are not encouraging, on housing; Reuters, this link.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tarryl Clark gets a first paragraph mention, but Frannie Franken's slapdown of Michele Bachmann's show boating fear mongering over Social Security is the story. Go, Frannie.

HufPo has the story, this link.

Election giving: Critics abound this time of year. Agree? Disagree? Picking a candidate or several, rather than generically handing decision to entrenched political operatives always seemed wisest to me. Or second wisest, to keeping your money for yourself.

Here.

If you like DFL Senate District Convention snapshots and commentary, have a look at the April Knight blog.

Here. No summary, no commentary. Go there. Have a look.

Michele Bachmann has done her share of grandstanding. Is she to be outdone?

This link. Jobs, healthcare, the economy all are key challenges to our legislature.

What's up? Why this? Isn't it, kind of, setting very questionable priorities? And bordering on wasting time, resources, political good will? Isn't it throwing red meat to the "nanny state" naysayers? Am I wrong?

This is troubling to me in ways I will leave unexpressed. Form your own views. Read the Economist item. It is short. It offers a perspective from a distance of something that, in my view, does not reflect particularly well on the State and its legislative priorities.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The only other physician I am familiar with in the House is Jim McDermott, my rep when I lived in Seattle.

And McDermott is superb. This House website. This Wikipedia page. He ratted out Gingrich and Boehner, what more can you say?

I think from what I have seen of Reed, she and McDermott could work together in the right directions. There is no question in my mind that each of the two, Reed and McDermott, will put the public interest in seeing healthcare for all, and cost containment reform that will minimally lessen quality of service while quelling the practice of running up the bill and gaming the system. I think each knows substance from sham, when it comes to how the provider community considers the rules, and adapts to maximize cash flows, given rules as they are. Changing the rules should not be left to lawyers and lobbyists, and people guessing at what's legit and what's undue inflation of the bill, from the outside looking in without having been around that partucular block multiple times.

And anyone doubting the situation will NOT be fixed by anything passed by this congress before the general election is unduly optimistic, in my opinion. There will be a great need to undo a lot of the garbage that the special interests inserted into the current mish-mosh thing, and I would be happier with Reed in DC riding herd as best as any one person can, on a process she integrally understands.

Dusty Trice thinks differently, and were he from the Sixth District and on top of things, he might modify his thoughts. He sits distanced, and says, stripped to the nub, he subjectively fails to trust Reed, without any substantial objective fact to back up that gut feeling. I don't discount gut feelings. I go the other way on Reed, strongly so, is all, and I live in the Sixth District and will be voting here.

And if the general election goes with Reed vs. Bachmann I would hope the Dusty Trice folks would not poison the well. I surely would not if it is Clark vs. Bachmann because Tarryl Clark most certainly is a quality person, fully trustworthy to be a sound and honest Representative in Congress, if she prevails in an MN 6 primary, and the alternative is Michele Bachmann.

I would prefer Reed against Bachmann over Clark against Bachmann, and I think Reed might have the better opportunity to defeat Bachmann. Do I have objective "proof" that is so? Of course not, you cannot prove the future, you just read the tealeaves and guess, and gamble. My bet, Reed.

I had favored Clark earlier. I was more familiar with her legislative public persona, because that it the nature of things. And she's been a superb person and legislator suggesting that she'd continue that way.

But I changed my mind. Tarryl Clark is talented, I cannot say a thing about her other than that. She would be a good rep., yet I sincerely believe Reed would be better. I believe she has a history outside of the hilltop in St. Paul, a broader perspective that way showing a diversity that would season the lawyer-heavy mix now in DC, with their friendly ex-Senator, ex-Rep minions of friends in lobbying. Reed would brook none of that. Clark neither, as I see things. Each would be independent of the worse corrupting influences DC offers the weak of spirit, the compromisers.

So, I trust both Reed and Clark, fully, and like each as a candidate, but I prefer Reed is how it shakes out.

At the SD 48 March 16 senate district convention, I will support John Marty, Maureen Reed, and healthcare reform. For the Senate District challenge to Jungbauer, I support Laurie Olmon. I think she has the energy and experience and understanding to do a well-above-average job in the Minnesota Senate. I hope she gets the opportunity to prove my impression correct.

All of that said, the key race is for governor, there's only one in the State, while the numbers of officials in both houses of Congress suggest a bit more leeway in the event Bachmann gains reelection against her better opponent, and that term "Bachmann's better" fits either Reed or Clark.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No surprise, I supported Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer for Senator, and I now support his endorsement of John Marty. Two really fine individuals

MPR Polinaut reports:


Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a DFL candidate for U.S. Senate and Congress in the past, is backing DFL state Sen. John Marty's bid for governor. Nelson-Pallmeyer said in an e-mail to reporters that Marty is the most progressive candidate in the field. Here's part of the e-mail:


John is the candidate I have faith in to carry our progressive vision for Minnesota. John is principled and honest and he has been a leader on the key issues Minnesotans care about. In a time of high voter cynicism I believe John is the DFL candidate who can win the general election.

John has become a good campaigner, and I have seen how well he relates to voters throughout the state. People are hungry for real change, tired of money dominating politics, and eager for real leadership. They see John as a governor who will lead and partner with them to achieve health care for all Minnesotans and to address other pressing needs.

John stands for a better Minnesota, one that speaks to our better selves: a Minnesota where we care for one another, especially the most vulnerable among us; a Minnesota where all people are treated with dignity and respect, whatever their race, their abilities, their legal status or their sexual orientation; a Minnesota in which the air, the land and the water are protected so we and our children and their grandchildren can enjoy a sustainable future.

John has accomplished much in the Senate. He's led the state for two decades in government ethics and campaign finance reform. He's leading a bold effort to make Minnesota the first state in the country to establish a single-payer, truly universal, affordable health care system. He's brought the issue of same-sex marriage out of the closet and into hearing rooms in St. Paul. And he's the one candidate who works to address the broader economic crisis we're in - and he isn't afraid to point out the budgetary "elephant in the room," the morally and economically outrageous cost of our nation's ongoing wars and subservience to the military-industrial complex.

Maureen Reed had a greeting and discussion session last evening at Anoka County Rum River Library.

It was the first time I had seen her speak, and it was a small group with chances for discussion and questions. The main focus of her presentation was healthcare, the substantive realities that something will be passed which will be better than the status quo but flawed, and needing attention again, probably sooner than later. My view, and I think that's what she said, what I heard, but if I misstate things I hope there's no harm to it. The theme though, which I believe, is that there will not be any final resolution but a step out of this congress before elections, and her background fits the task. Again, nothing there to dispute. There is nothing theatatrical to her, as with Bachmann, who seems to have wanted to be an actress but missed the bus to Hollywood, caught the one to DC. None of that. Smart. Direct. Responsive to questions indicating views and understandings of issues beyond healthcare. Not hesitant. Not lecturing. Good bedside manner, if that's the right way to say it. Late for the meeting, mis-navigating between her and the staff aide looking for a site they'd not been to before. But doctors always keep you waiting.

General impression. I have not seen Tarryl Clark but I have great respect for her. I am leaning toward Reed however. At the March 16 Senate District 48 convention I expect that is how I will go unless something unexpected happens. The weakest part of the presentation - the feeling of a need to give the "How I can beat Bachmann" speech. The strongest, moving from that to thoughts and approach that will be taken when going to DC. The what if elected, vs the why elect me.

Really, for most there, the why elect question is answered by the what if, what I would do, think, and set as priorties. All there realized Bachmann needs more time at home in Stillwater and this election will be a chance to get that for her high heels and pearls personality.

Reed undoubtedly would represent the district well, something that's been lacking for quite some time. How her winning might affect redistricting, vs. if Bachmann returns, is an intriguing question.

Between now and March 16 I will be posting more about who I will go there supporting, and why. Not as if it's an endorsement - for the three readers I probably have with two disagreeing, but simply to express a view of what critiria I have, and ultimately, gut feelings of who I would want having the job.

I have come to view a thinking approach of who is winnable, vs who would you really like best to represent you and community interests, leads to wrong choices. Winnable is how the post hoc vote count turns out.

Was Franken more winnable than Jack Nelson Pallmeyer? Who can say. I liked Jack better. Franken got the endorsement and support, and the seat in Congress. Now let's all goad him toward public option, ASAP, and ultimately single payer. He's what we have, and far better than Norm Coleman, although that's faint praise. I expect he will do well. It's the "culture" and norms of both houses of Congress that need change, but Franken is an asset not a liability in the process, and vastly better than the intervening interloper on the Wellstone seat.