consultants are sandburs

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tell Zygi this one - get him to crack that knowing, conspiratorial owner-spinmeister's Wilfare entitlement-smirk.

Brian Lambert, at MinnPost, a part of his daily glean.

photo credit
Not just a cold Omaha, but a broke one, too … if the Vikings leave … if you believe corporate boosters. Tim Nelson’s MPR story says: “Stadium boosters say a host of other marquee events would also skip Minnesota without a new stadium. [The story includes a graph that mentions the Seventh Day Adventists and Alcoholics Anonymous conventions, at $70 million each]. ‘If we can't get the stadium deal done and the Vikings organization leaves Minnesota, it would be a serious loss for our entire community,’ said Richard Davis, CEO and president, U.S. Bank, in a release from Home Field Advantage, a coalition of stadium boosters that released a favorable poll last week. ‘The loss of an NFL franchise would have a negative effect on our economy and our future ability to grow and attract jobs.' " So, do I have this right? If the Vikings leave, they’re taking the Metrodome with them, leaving Alcoholics Anonymous with no place to convene?

When told that Paul has a relatively strong following in central Minnesota, he described the Paul phenomenon as an "uneasy coalition of two disparate groups: young, antiwar isolationists and older, anti-Federal Reserve activists with 'two years’ supply of food in the cellar,' " the paper said.

Karl Rove.

He forgot to mention folks tired of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

But he's no stake in the truth. Only in the spin. It's his meal ticket.

Here, for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum calling one another extreme.

In any line of competitive work do you learn to "play like a veteran" by going up against one?

If you drape the arm for position it becomes a point-counterpoint situation.
Strib photo, Bruce Bisping, story here.

Kevin McHale never played like that. Did he?

There are ways you can cheat and get away with and ways you cannot. And the unwritten rules are a sometimes thing. Amy Koch will tell you that. And you cannot go too far from the rulebook for too long. Tom Petters will tell you that. Aside from love and war, all's fair if you don't get caught, or whistled. Yes/no?

I do not use either Facebook or Twitter. But City Pages reports of a Twitter thread more meaningful than a bogus push poll.

This link, for City Pages. Ed Kohler also has written of the god-awful poll thing the Wilfare advocates have trotted out as if it were something legitimate.

Interesting detail about how the other half's living. I doubt the word "RINO" was used by one against the other, even while seeking the same GOP party apparatchik post.

I think they seek the same seat. While not explicitly said that way, at Residual Forces here, debating one another implies it. Good luck to each of the pea-pod clones. I wonder about the word "debate" since it seems mainly a juxtaposition of two ambitions each having to view the ambitions of others ahead of each, in the GOP line. It used to be there were the Rockefeller Republicans and the Goldwater Republicans. Now as Barny Frank aptly described the new Republicans, it's the White Rabbit vs. the Mad Hatter. With the House full of Republicans who either "think" like Michele Bachmann or are scared of losing a primary to someone who does.

Both Andy and Jen are Emmerites, true and blue to a fault, with Andy to his benefit in my judgment at least seeming the more secular of the two. Whether that may help or hinder him among that bunch, I am not able to guess. Anyway, start with an image, end with an image:

Two of them in there?
this link

Interestingly, Andy notes, "You can listen to the podcast here." I think he is using the term "podcast" differently than I envision it. At any rate, I expect Andy may be a Romney supporter, as a matter of rational thought, and Jen a Santorum supporter, as a matter of faith and belief. That's a guess. I don't talk to either.

____________FURTHER UPDATE___________
I hope rather than being a popularity contest or beauty contest between two individuals that there is at least some voting delegate knowledge and attention paid to possible differences of opinion on Wilfare, referendum prior to Wilfare, gambling, gambling to subsidize Wilfare, Brodkorb as a chance to improve vs a cause to circle wagons and hide heads in the sand, etc. On the question of whether Sen. Michel should have faced an inclusive ethics investigation for timing of Koch-Brodkorb purge politics, I expect each knows close to the heart the proper answer as a good government question, but neither favors anything like a full inquiry while being a party apparatchik candidate.

Even a party functionary election contest can be a constructive thing, or just a match for who can be the harder working apparatchik. And if it comes down to that, feeling as I do I would hope the lesser effective apparatchik is elected, whichever that may be. I have no basis for any opinion on that question, beyond seeing Andy consistently blogging, in an informative way even while clearly partisan. I would call it effective blogging that way. If Jen Niska has had any generally visible presence to the general public, outside of party insiders, I am unaware of it.

Between the two all I really know is one blogs, and both liked Tom Emmer, loser that he proved to be. That and Jen is married to Harry Niska, a lawyer who recently ran for office once in Ramsey but lost by a narrow margin; that being a coincidental fact and not determinative except that Harry Niska also has held a GOP party office and may continue that way, and concentration of offices in a family can be argued against, the way some private sector firms establish anti-nepotism requirements.

UPDATED: BENSON ENDORSED. Andy at Residual Forces poses the eternal question regarding Republicans. Which is better, an ineffective flake as GOP state senator, or an aggressive pit bull, pulling in all the wrong directions and with teeth in everything making things worse.

--Delegates in Senate District 31 also had to choose between two GOP colleagues: first-term Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake and third-term Sen. Michael Jungbauer of East Bethel. Delegates voted five times before Benson had the 60 percent to win. Jungbauer stepped aside and said he was happy to support her.

So, what is Mike Jungbauer's next political step?

This link, Andy shouting out about the Anoka County Watchdog as his source.

Benson, she appears to be a true threat to anything resembling a set of policy judgments that might be marginally better than the worse of knuckle dragging GOP sentiments. At their worse, and shared by Jungbauer.

But then there is Jungbauer. Being Jungbauer.

Of the two, and being a progressive who ultimately would like to see a progressive agenda succeed and the opposite flounder, I am hopeful that Jungbauer will prevail.

Hopeful, but not expecting that at all. Mike's time in the Senate seems to be drawing to a close, and a sound expectation is Benson today being endorsed as GOP [new] District 35 Senate candidate, at the District's Senate convention, today.

First ballot, perhaps not, but ultimately, expect Benson to win the endorsement.

So, the interesting thing I anticipate is seeing what Jungbauer's next ploy becomes. Where will he be shopping his talents, such as they are?

I wonder how the staffers within the two camps are reacting. Which group is circulating resumes. My hope of course is that each of those camps become unemployed at the start of next year based on a DFL win in the general election. Again, hope vs expectation.

And an expectation of a GOP victory in SD 35, with Benson, is not a question of DFL candidate quality. It is an expectation grounded on voter quality.

Friday, March 30, 2012

From space you can see it - a finite earth - but listen instead to politicians, Copper-Nickel-Sulfide miners, and those refusing to hear the population bomb ticking, ticking, ticking ...

The report. Ars reporting. Original Earth photo published at Ars, without captioning. If population is not curbed at the birth rate, nature will slam things shut via the death rate, and it will be brutal and ugly. There is only so much. There can stably be only so many.

With limited access to the full report, the pdf version, 4-page executive summary, here. OECD homepage, the about-page.


That's right. How it is. The web is full of Bakken oil shale fracking and the North Dakota oil boom in full swing, in all its aspects. A simple truth - they are drilling there, they are drilling now, big time. And have you checked out the local gas pump, each time you've topped up? Paying less? Hardly.

I'd rather believe Bachmann.
Get the truth in three links, here, here and here.

That last item, Forbes, will the right wingnuts call that RINO? Flat-tax-Forbes? Yet it tells the truth. Transport and refinery managed bottlenecks rule. Nobody is going to truck gasoline here from refineries in Cleveland or Buffalo. They play their local markets, and trucking any distance costs too much. Hence, the Koch brothers' refinery in the TC market enjoys a monopoly position, and imposes monopoly pump pricing. Even if it gets discount priced oil from the Bakken. But, hey, those are only facts. Others can enjoy whatever huff-and-puff-and-bluff-stuff they choose.

Just remember.

You will not need a stinking photo ID, to vote on whether next election you will have to have a stinking photo ID to vote. And do you think this election, without the thing required, will somehow be less pure than otherwise? Sure, the answer breaks down along party lines. Honesty is left on the doorstep.

Rumor has it a possible Bachmann in district sighting-happening may occur in Elk River tomorrow morning.

8 am. scheduled arrival time. Don't bet on it. She is always late. Saturday, 31 Mar 2012. Remember you saw about it first, on Crabgrass. "Coffee with the Congresswoman."

No tea? How can this individual party, without tea?

Coffee, indeed.

8:45 am, it ends. At which time she will be raptured.

Rapturing happenings, even in Elk River, are rarer than Bachmann-in-district sightings (barely, but trust me it's so) - and this is a double act, in fact, so be there or be square.

I am not going because I suffer GOP bulimia. All the propaganda they feed you, I cannot hold it down. It is not a vanity-bulimia thing. It's basic inability to stomach some stuff. It just comes up, regurgitated, as if I were Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor.

Bachmann, book signing. Bring a book copy and she may sign.
Photo from here.

Dueling banjos.

In sequence, as long as Strib keeps them online, here and here.

Isn't there a government to run? Yet there is time for this? For Amendmentorama? Amendment de jour? Two for one specials?

Tattering and nattering. Dinking and plinking. Wilfare contortions.

In honor of James Norman and his dreams and schemes while city administrator of Ramsey, can any reader help me, where is the "Port" in Austin, Minnesota?

Pork Authority

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Does this mean Wisconsin voters get a "two-for" and can recall Rick Santorum too, at the same time?

This link.

This coverage. This excerpt:

Santorum has said as a candidate for president that he supports a national right-to-work bill, and that he opposed it in the Senate because he didn't want to undermine Pennsylvania's opposition to the policy. Santorum represented southwestern Pennsylvania in the House for two terms and then won two terms in the Senate from the strong union state. Romney supports national right-to-work legislation.

"Calling Rick Santorum a friend of labor is like calling Mitt Romney a conservative. Neither are true," Santorum told reporters Wednesday.

Organized labor and Democratic critics targeted Walker, a Republican elected in 2010, after he won approval last year in the GOP-controlled Legislature to effectively end collective bargaining for public employees. Campaigns for and against Walker have consumed months of television advertising and have overshadowed Tuesday's presidential primary.

Republican National Committee member Mary Buestin of Mequon, Wis., said GOP activists are lining up with Walker, and said any hint of waffling on union issues is not good for a presidential candidate.

"I think when people find out he voted that way, even if he has come around since then, it will hurt Santorum," said Buestin, who lives in a GOP-heavy Milwaukee suburb.

University of Wisconsin political science professor Charles Franklin, who conducted the Marquette poll, said GOP sentiment is heavily anti-union.

"The GOP primary electorate is very positive toward Scott Walker. So anything that differentiates a candidate and puts space between them and Walker is not good for the primary coming up," Franklin said.

Santorum worked vigorously this week to endear himself to supporters of Walker, who is locked in a tight battle to retain the governorship.

"Gov. Walker ... is leading. He is leading this country with his courage, his ability," Santorum said in Bellevue, Wis. "He is willing to stand up and fight the bullies. I come from southwest Pennsylvania. I represented the old steel valley of Pittsburgh. I know what it's like."

Can't the man be satisfied wrapping himself in a flag carrying a Bible? Does he have to incorporate Scott Walker in the wrap? Isn't the Flag and Bible enough? Would somebody in the Rick camp turn off the lights, and cancel the utility accounts? It is over. Scott Walker. Rick Santorum. Equal problematic individuals. One even admitting it. Bless them both.

Let's up the ante by one link. Santorum. Walker. And, Rats Redux. Sstanding with Poppy Bush on that stage.

image from here
Why not forget Santorum as a presidential candidate, since he is best suited for and would make one hell of a Pinkerton CEO. Is he in the running? The problem, once the recall's been held, Walker will be available for the job. And Rick's standing with him, not against Scotty.

Perhaps Pinkerton has a Vice-CEO spot open for Rick so the two, Rick and Scotty, can continue standing together against workers.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
But wait there's more. Big question: Can the three of them stand together? Without looking like stooges? Raising the further question; Which one is Moe?

"Moe Romney" actually has a better ring to it than "Mitt."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shoveling it on at Town Center has been going on for years. Memorialized quite recently in a photo, by Strib.

Read all about it. This link. More of the same, more detailed, here.

Ron Paul - The man has been in politics for decades. Who says he won't cut a deal?

Time's swampland, this link. This excerpt:

Paul’s acolytes insist their man cannot be bought. [...]

Maybe so, but at 76, Paul is understandably concerned about the future of his movement. Aides say if Paul can’t win the nomination, four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative’s wish list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch’s right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such as an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation. Paul might also be enticed, says campaign chairman Jesse Benton, by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or “perhaps a vice presidency.”

Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now — or even being mentioned for it — would be a helpful step. [...]

[...] At the same time, Paul’s backers recognize that selling supporters on an alliance with Romney carries special risks, since Paul’s bond with his backers is predicated on his record of principled stands. A pact would have to be done “very cautiously,” says Benton. “We wouldn’t ask our people to do that if we worried they were just being co-opted or that we were in some way selling out.”

But it may soon be time for Paul’s army to decide if it wants to win or lose in the fall. “There’s clearly something going on between the two of them, and that’s a very good thing,” says David Adams, a Kentucky Tea Party strategist who helmed Rand Paul’s Senate primary campaign.

[italics added] At a guess Romney would have no major problem adopting Ron Paul's talking points, as talking points, since the man talks as he believes others want to hear him and that's been his habit from pro-choice Massachusetts days to his current choice-hating position. Bend with the lightest breeze, never mind any chance of breaking in a wind. He even now criticizes Romneycare, a keystone of his Massachusetts miracle, as if it were alien to him, somehow, some way. Who knows, the opportunity may present itself for Romney to present himself as critical of corporate raiding.

So the test is one of the integrity of Ron Paul. We already know about Romney.

I find that Ron Paul -- will he cut a deal thing, to be a very interesting question.

Decades in politics.

We wait. We see. And, Ron Paul's backers, while many may be only true believers, there are career politicians and campaign hangers-on who would cut a deal for a dime. And Ron Paul could not have gotten this far in things without a few such camp followers in tow. Reality is what it is.

Hat tip to Digby on the "Let's make a deal" possibilities, this link. That quote Digby noted, channeling Ayn Rand, by young Rand, (was he in fact named after the grande dame?) is garbage. As Digby noted. What is "corporatism" but what young Rand was touting? Perhaps I misunderstand the term. Government in bed with profit-seekers. That is the antithesis of trust in the market. It's stacking the deck, and there are tons of money given tons of lobbyists in DC already, to do all that, so if that's young Rand's world view, we don't need him.

The season for dog-pony shows is upon us, Ramsey having a role model.

Here and here.

Here. Matt Look. Bob Ramsey. Mentioned as there. I am surprised they did not fly Flaherty in as a city expense. Lazan, though unmentioned, likely was there. Ben Dover stayed on his pedestal across the street from the castle.

As Rybak and crony corporatists are poised for giving free Wilfare to the New Jersey Wilfs, Salon publishes "The myth of the progressive city."

This link.

Strib headlines, "Conservative justices' skeptical queries focused on scope of overhaul." Ignore that. Let's get basic - and back to where we ALWAYS belonged.

Keep your eyes on the prize - original photo from Strib/AP - here

Do it again, but this time do it right. Funded from general funds, every citizen covered for basics, the Cheneys of the world can buy supplemental coverage for their new hearts (and flowers). Decency for the 99%, pay more get more, for the 1%. But lets have universal JUSTICE, never mind the Justices.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SANTORUM'S recurring cold-sweat nightmare.

Actually Rick, HE prefers Obama AND family planning.

You know, sometimes you can never get an answer until you ask the question.

There is this, online, this link.

So, it seemed fair to ask:

I am aware that busy celebrity people often let fan mail fall through the cracks. But I expect better, from ALEC. I promise to post whatever response I get, as soon as I get it. Which, of course, should be well before this item scrolls into "older posts."

I am eager in anticipation of a thorough and insightful answer. Hopefully detail about which brother had the larger input, but for things such as this, posing too detailed a question can often miss the forest because of the trees.

National Journal reports on GOP presidential affairs.

Gingrich. Such a deal.

Santorum. Such a challenge.

More on Santorum and Pennsylvania where they know him and decisively voted him out of the Senate no matter how you spin it.

Christian Science Monitor.


More Gingrich: here, here and here. Discounted.

POLITICS - Andy Hillebregt is the endorsed DFL candidate for House District 35A and likely will be without any DFL primary opponent.

Although not a DFL party insider, I do caucus DFL, and was at the Senate District convention where Andy was endorsed by acclamation, first ballot. I requested to be on his press release emailing list at the time, and he recently provided a release.

Because local news outlets with wider circulation may print his release, and have far wider circulation, I shall only summarize.

Hillebregt is from here. Andy is a graduate of Elk River Senior High School and attended Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Hennepin Technical College. He is married and he and wife Jill have three school-aged sons.

Hillebregt is a local businessman. As a primary business Andy owns and operates a tax preparation business, Eagle's Nest Tax Service (6957 West Hwy 10, Suite 202, Ramsey, Mn 55303 - office 763-243-4427 cell-612-723-0772). Andy also farms, operating an eggs-chicken-rabbit sales business, Hillebregt's Family Farms, in Ramsey, (same cellphone).

In my view this puts Hillebregt in a good position to appreciate the north metro's transitioning from a primarily rural-farming area to one of suburban housing, family businesses, and a range of medium size businesses. He can experience and understand growth that way with all its challenging dimensions - because he is in the middle of it as it is happening..

It probably is harder to feel and understand such change from within a more entrenched community, which is the case for chiropractor Jim Abeler, the District 35A incumbent who has been a long time resident and commercial property owner-landlord, in Anoka.

I expect Hillebregt would bring a fresher perspective to the legislature if elected, while being as accessible to individual citizens as Abeler has been.

As to issues and details beyond this summary, there is the Hillebregt campaign website (where his entire press release is posted on the homepage):

Campaign contributions can be sent:

The Committee to Elect
Andy Hillebregt for House of Rep 35A
17061 Bison St NW
Ramsey, MN 55303

Previously I posted a photo of Hillebregt from his 2010 run for a county board seat. He has provided a more current photo which has been substituted above.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am 100% with the mayor, Tossey and McGlone on this one.

This link.

These special earmarked tax/spend things run contrary to the generally best practice, decide what you want to buy and then tax to ensure you have enough to pay for it.

And don't loot the reserves with some pie-in-the-sky phony promise of paying it back.

That's one where I disagree with the mayor and McGlone. Spending down the reserves did make some sense, as I think they were pumped up unreasonably and unnecessarily high during Gamec-Norman days. Because of the prudent investment concerns regarding excess reserve public funds, there is not much likelihood of a sensible return on held funds.

Using reserves to buy the Clown Center lands, vs. bonding for it was a decision I supported and still think best.

However, the decision to buy it at all, and for such an unreasonably high price, was unsound.

Then, I think reserves again went to fund the third water tower, rather than bonding even at current low rates. They bond now for subsidizing Flaherty, because, what, they've exhausted reserves?

It is all a hodge-podge, but from Republicans, expected.

They say as they say. They do as they do. Others do better in office.

CD 6 Republicans report SD 35 delegates and alternates selected at their Saturday meeting.

Round up the usual suspects.

Of course they're suspect. They're Republicans.

While I might miss a name or two of interest perhaps to Ramsey folks, below are a few of the listed names and a comment or two, guessing or recalling as best I can, and going down the list in order.

Andy Aplikowski, delegate, blogs. If consistent with past publishing, supports Romney, and Wilfare [rabid Vikings fan, but liked Arden Hills so that public money might be spent making his travel on roads easier].

____ Bendtsen - a few, and I have heard the name as activist in local Republican affairs. I don't know any of them, (don't care to).

Andre Champagne, delegate, ran a few half-hearted lackluster campaigns for City Council. I backed him last cycle, against Colin McGlone. Works for the county sheriff, but despite being dependent on taxpayer money for a paycheck, probably an anti-tax maven.

Don Huizenga, the soreheads' choice against Jim Abeler of their own party after Abeler was one of six breaking rank re Pawlenty's overridden veto, years back. A roofer, as I recall. At a guess, for Santorum and against Wilfare (unless there's a roofing contract he might have a shot at).

Matthew Look, delegate, former Ramsey Councilmember, present county board member. Up for reelection because of redistricting. Based upon his yen for local socialism, buying the Town Center land as city property so the city could compete with private sector developers, favoring further spending on Northstar, and one of the driving members to get Landform its contract with City of Ramsey so that city spending of taxpayer dollars on Darren Lazan's behalf and on subsidizing stuff such as Flaherty's landlord dreams could be brought about; given all that love of spending public money, my guess is he'd love Wilfare as part of a modus operandi pattern. Santorum would be my guess, but probably no strong favorites unless one were to buy signs. Did signs a few years back for a judicial candidate if I recall correctly. That candidate lost to Lorie Gildea because Gildea was less an ideologue, and relatively more mainstream. Really. Spouse Brenda Look came in second of four in the recent special election for the balance of Dave Jeffrey's Ward 4 seat on Ramsey's council. Brenda is not a delegate nor an alternate.

Harry and Jennifer Niska, delegates. Harry was a one-time treasurer on a Mike Jungbauer campaign. Jennifer was an Emmer campaign insider. Harry is a lawyer, and at U.Minn law school was a Federalist Society associate/advocate, and in some form of Christian Lawyers - Law Students organization. Santorum. I'd bet money on that. Ran for a Ward 1 Ramsey council seat, losing to David Elvig. Probably against Wilfare, (unless his law firm has a stake in which case he'd do the right thing and recuse himself from Wilfare considerations).

Kathy Tingelstad, delegate, currently an Anoka County lobbyist to the legislature. Former legislator. Well known to most Ramsey residents. Was one of the six who voted with the DFL'ers to override the Pawlenty veto. Got the lobbying job after that, when not seeking reelection. Respected as better than you'd expect for a Republican, by some whose opinion I value. Seems to be a genuinely good person and reasonably independent in her thoughts. At a guess, a Romney supporter, and careful on the Wilfare question vs. other possibler spending priorities.

Jason Tossey, delegate. Police executive, and law enforcement officer outside of CD 6, and senior enough to appear to not draw shift duty. Listed right after Tingelstad, and also one of the thinking ones, having opposed Flaherty free subsidies while being on the Ramsey City Council, consistently and as a matter of principle. At a guess, Ron Paul will get at least some respect. Active in law enforcement union affairs, but that likely would not lead to embracing Wilfare to create union construction jobs. Close to libertarian in his views as best as I know, but within the GOP tent and not looking in any separate Libertarian Party direction.

Colin McGlone, Alternate A-36, down the list which is where I would put him. Landform "I want a salesman" tub-thumper, pro-socializing the Town Center land, loves giving Flaherty free parking at taxpayer expense (Santa Clause did not create that grant money pool), loves extending credit to Flaherty - so with that record how could the man in any consistent way not love Wilfare? Gingrich is my guess. He seem a Gingrich drill-here-and-now knee-jerk type. Would not take offense at Gingrich's past. I favored Andre Champagne last cycle but McGlone won, will be up for reelection, Ward 2 Ramsey Council seat. I think I will be redistricted into Ward 2, whereas last time I did not have even the chance to vote between him and Champagne. Runs some kind of hauling contractor business. Has/had a contract to haul with City of Ramsey while on council. Opinionated to a fault.

(Bob Ramsey not a GOP delegate or alternate this time, my recollection was he previously had been last election cycle)

Thomas Towberman, Alternate A-57. One of four Ward 4 candidates in the Ramsey special election, trailed Strommen and Look in voting. If I had to apply a label, it would be Neocon. I would guess against Wilfare, and for Gingrich.

Of the batch, I would really like to know where each is, on the question of gambling expansion. I see that as a divisive question among Republicans.

I also would like to know whether an endorsement vote was taken, and whether Weaver or Paulsen was chosen.

Any reader with helpful knowledge is asked to leave a comment. Any reader knowing if any of my guesses are wrong is asked to leave a comment. Civil comments on point should end up posted. Off-point anonymous stupid stuff, not so. That is why I was forced to moderate comments.

GOP SD 31 will meet end of this month, this link.

GOP CD 6, Friday the Thirteenth meeting, this link.

The March 31 convention will (or is expected to be) where the SD 31 endorsement vote is taken, Benson vs. Jungbauer. Perhaps the GOP does not endorse that way. As noted, in SD 35 GOP deliberations, was Weaver or Paulsen blessed and sprinkled with holy water, or whatever their procedures are?

As best as I understand things at present, Branden Petersen got the SD 35 endorsement, not Martha Weaver, and with the district sending on 36 delegates to the next level 15 of the elected delegates are probable Ron Paul supporters, although at conventions where multiple ballots are experienced there is a lot of persuasion and horse-trading. If that happens my guess would be the first to shift would be the Gingrich backers. Bending with the wind the way Newt himself would.

I have been told Petersen won endorsement on the first ballot.

If any on the alternate list end up replacing a chosen delegate or two, the commitments may realign accordingly.

With part of SD35 in CD 3, there will be 6 delegates sent there with 3 likely Ron Paul supporters among them. This is from outside the tent, so expect possible error, but still, Ron Paul is to be reckoned with among Minnesota's GOP, if these numbers are real and mirror statewide sentiment.

I understand some prepared "slates" of delegates were listed and passed around, and if that had any effect on ultimate voting, I was not there and will not guess.

Again, any reader with better information is asked to supplement or correct things.

I think I correctly pegged a Santorum delegate or three in my speculation above, but the Wilfare and gambling questions are likely to be wait-and-see hot issues at the next GOP caucus/convention level.

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Hypotheticals are always speculative, but if Michelle Benson wins a first ballot SD 31 endorsement, should Andy Westberberg start looking over his shoulder? As with Look, redistricting puts the seat Westerberg holds on the county board in play this cycle.

Reader thoughts? Am I guessing about the wrong county board district and a particular residence in East Bethel? Help me.

"Tax the Rich" does resonate. It makes sense to bring them back to fair tax levels after decades of Reagan-Bush largesse. Two-thirds of Californians support their Governor saying what our Governor Dayton says he will continue to advocate and advance.

This link. Meanwhile our Wisconsin neighbors suffer the ravages of their Republican governor, (until he's recalled).

Tax Bill Cooper. Tax the 1%. The only mystery is how they've managed for so long to game the system by paying LESS than a fair share. Some would pat his back. Others would kick his butt. I only say, tax the man fairly for a change.

It is interesting what a "Tax the Rich" foray onto the web can yield. Bill Cooper and the Suttons, here then here. If you want a taco to go with that mixed drink. Baja Sol and the Cooper-Sutton saga was in general known to me, but the eye-opener in that first linked item:

In 2006, Baja Sol, Inc. was purchased by franchisees Bill Cooper and Tony and Bridget Sutton to form a new company, Baja Sol Restaurants Group. Bill Cooper, Chairman and former CEO of TCF Financial Corporation, brings a lifetime of experience in building companies to this venture. Tony Sutton, former Deputy State Auditor for the state of Minnesota, provides 20 years of organizational leadership and financial oversight. Bridget Sutton brings 20 years of small business development and marketing.

Boy, Pat Anderson sure has kept that "former Deputy State Auditor" thing under a hat, all the while that Sutton-Brodkorb handling of GOP party finances, the debt revelation thing, was loading up that party's fan.

MinnPost image, link given below

The picture, from here, dates back to where former GOP party official Trimble got the opportunity to bill substantial legal fees for a useless Emmer recount - I call Sutton and Trimble the "Crony Tonys," (although beyond party ties of commonality, leadership opportunity, I cannot really say that cronyism was a factor in that recount thing happening as it did among a party in hock - I just really like the ring of that phrase). Remember, MPR reported:

Some party backers are questioning where the party's money went and several expressed surprise when told about some of the spending. Thursday night the party's executive committee agreed to do an internal review of some of the expenses incurred during the past 2 1/2 years to try to dissect what happened, said a party leader.

Chief among their concerns are dollars paid to Tony Trimble, the party's attorney who argued unsuccessfully in the 2008 U.S. Senate recount and the 2010 gubernatorial recount. During Sutton's tenure, Trimble made more than $1 million, an amount leaders say was excessive.

Also on the party books was $221,000 paid to Strother Communications, a public relations firm charged with rebranding the party. One party leader said the effort never resulted in a concrete plan.

[italics emphasis added]

Party books being so secretive, and the guy who was running up expenses willy-nilly (with lawyer Trimble, billing meter running, never objecting) was Sutton.

Then, to now see Sutton actually had a shout-and-tout background as deputy State Auditor - there's enough there to unpin my BS meter off zero, to midscale or beyond to higher values.

You'd suppose and hope that being deputy Auditor would entail a learning curve on proper shepherding of funds. Of course, I believe Sutton has denied impropriety as a factor in his heading Minnesota's GOP. So, make it an expectation of a prudent learning experience, with prudent being perhaps a more elastic and less pejorative word than "proper." You have to wonder what Sutton's duties back then were, to earn the State's paycheck. Any readers having knowledge of his service record in that position, please leave a comment.

The politics of Money and Healthcare access - Dick Cheney - first the Supreme Court said corporations are people, now we see Dick Cheney treated as if he were one.

Privilege in a market economy?

see earlier Crabgrass post, here

Start with opinion, here, factual reporting, here. Appropriate to Dick Cheney (our nation's most recent 71 year old heart transplant recipient of note), both items are online at the Daily Beast.

An east coast University hospital's FAQ page on heart transplants, here, contains much of interest beyond this single question-answer pair:

What part of the transplant is covered by insurance?

There are no simple answers to this question. First, you must answer some questions yourself. Do you have insurance? If so, you must read your policy book. If you do not have one, contact your broker who sold you the policy or contact your employer benefits unit. This is your transplant and you need to be involved in learning about many aspects of transplant, including insurance.

Review your plan to answer the following questions:

* Is transplant a covered benefit?

* Is a heart transplant covered by your health plan?

* Is there is a life-time maximum (amount of total dollars plan will allow for transplant)? What is it?

* How are prescription medications covered? Does the insurance plan cover medicine directly or is medication subcontracted to a "Pharmacy Benefits Manager"?

* Is the medication included in the lifetime maximum?

* Can you go to any transplant program or does your insurance limit you to only specific, designated hospitals?

* Will your policy cover the transplant at UMMC?

* Do you have an insurance case manager?

* What is his/her name and number?

There are as many different insurance plans as there are patients, so we can't discuss all the details here. Our finance coordinators and other benefits staff can work with you, but we expect you to do the basic research about your insurance.

There seems a flavor of why a universal all-are-equal single payer-provider might be best - unless you are in the 1%. But for the 99% - it's check out your health coverage, if you have any, for how transplant surgery for you or a covered family member is hedged and constrained, vs. open and available. With "as many different insurance plans as there are patients," is it presently like trying to shop for a decent used car where a problem is finding an honest dealer as a first step?

That FAQ page from the Maryland hospital is informative.

So, you are living in Ramsey's Northfork neighborhood, smiling smugly in your still highly mortgaged McMansion; well let the American Organ Transplant Association have a go at that smug smile:

The approximate costs related to major organ transplants include: $650,000 for a heart transplant, $500,000 for a liver transplant, $400,000 for a lung transplant, and $250,000 for a kidney transplant. The costs identified are only related to the hospital and medical personnel fees. Tests preformed prior to the transplant and follow up treatments related to the procedure will add more to the final cost. In addition, the transplant patient can expect to have the lifetime cost of the prescription medications necessary to support their organ transplant.

Transplant candidates that are covered by Medicare or Social Security benefits will need to contact these agencies to determine the coverage of organ transplant costs. The Veterans Administration will provide assistance for transplant costs through veteran benefits.

See: this link.

Perhaps the portfolio hit will not be as bad for some as it might be for others. Different pricing info, here, along with this quote:

Most transplants are paid for by private health insurance, although the Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for certain transplants for certain people. Many private insurers now cover heart transplants. However, you must contact your insurance company to know if you are covered and for how much. Some insurances cover you for less if you have the procedure done at a hospital outside their "system." This is the case for me.

Your heart transplant costs might be reimbursed by Medicare if you are Medicare eligible and the transplant is done at a Medicare approved center. Medicaid coverage for your transplant is decided by your state's State Medicaid program. If your state does cover your procedure, the federal government will provide funds on a matching basis.

Although legislation to change this is in the works, currently your meds are only covered by Medicare for the first 3 years, and then you are on your own!

When standing at the mercy of the insurance industry, remember they are such generous and caring souls, so you have little cause for worry. In our great US of A we treasure every individual and our market-driven healthcare set-up is the proof of that. Beyond doubt. Bless the insurers, and bless their insurance industry, for they shall inherit the earth.

Time for a wrap up - If you want to read more, see this Google, (from which earlier links were found). Do a web search on your own, something like "Cheney heart transplant," for further news and opinion coverage of our esteemed former Vice President and his surgery - news beyond what the Daily Beast had to say.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ya'all pick winners. Now what?

In honor of Santorum having widespread appeal along the Gulf Coast, deep in the heart of Dixie among oil spill debris and hurricane havoc, this link.

Reports are Santorum will next reach for Wisconsin.

Has Mr. Guv. Recall there endorsed any candidate?

All I have seen is our too-familiar quick exit specialist endorsing the other way:

Former Minnesota governor and possible presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty released a video today that uses dramatic music and quick cuts of protest footage to show support for Walker. At the end of the minute-long video, Pawlenty is shown on a news program saying, "It's really important that America stand with Walker, stand with Wisconsin."

Pawlenty also launched a petition on his political action committee website to gather public support for Walker.

"Governor Scott Walker is making tough choices needed to avoid financial ruin," the website reads. "The nation's governors don't need a lecture from a President who has never balanced a budget. All levels of government need to bring public employee compensation in line with the private sector... I'm confident Governor Walker's reforms will succeed in Wisconsin. Stand strong, Scott -- average taxpayers everywhere are rooting for you."

That endorsing guy, he got out of the candidate fray quicker than Houdini could shed chains.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A modest proposal on an effective voter ID.

Voter ID, with photo is less reliable an identification thing than a bar-code tattoo, given at or very recently after birth, which then can be tracked forever unto death, in NSA data servers.

Every electronic voting machine could be given online access to NSA servers, for immediate ID validation. Also, that would entail other advantages, in terms of recording votes - if a recount is needed, or otherwise.

That's the gold standard of voter ID. Simple enough for a child to use. And they'd all have them, so there'd be no bullying or taunting over them - only if a child shows up unmarked would that happen.

Or make it a 2D code, a QR code. Make it parental choice over code type. We should be flexible. Keep the family in the decision loop. Hand or forehead would be yet another parental choice.

Then, to enforce compliance, a simple rule: Without the mark of the Beast, you cannot do commerce.

What a revelation.

Or is it just me, seeing things atop the slippery slope?

A must-read analysis of a part of the tuition cost problem. However, this author knows you don't throw away a baby with bathwater.

Strib carries a WaPo op-ed. This link.

This quote, from early in the item:

With the 1970s advent of collective bargaining in higher education, this began to change. The result has been more equitable circumstances for college faculty members, who deserve salaries comparable to those of other educated professionals.

Happily, senior faculty at most state universities and colleges now earn $80,000 to $150,000, roughly in line with the average incomes of other Americans who hold advanced degrees.

Not changed, however, are the accommodations designed to compensate for low pay in earlier times. Though faculty salaries now mirror those of most upper-middle-class Americans working 40 hours for 50 weeks, they generally continue to pay for teaching time of nine to 15 hours per week for 30 weeks, with a month-long winter break, a week off in the spring and a summer vacation from mid-May until September.

Such a teaching schedule may be appropriate in research universities where standards for faculty employment are exceptionally high — and are based on the premise that critically important work, along with research-driven teaching, can best be performed outside the classroom.

The faculties of research universities are at the center of America's progress in intellectual, technological and scientific pursuits, and there should be no quarrel with their financial rewards or schedules. Indeed, they often work hours well beyond those of average middle-class professionals.

This is a point I have argued, less effectivly than David Levy, author of the item.

Read the entire thing. He defends paying the elite at elite level compensation, and leaving them time for cutting edge research. Which is what they do best, and in doing it mentoring a next generation of exceptional people.

But the author makes another point about faculty at the less cutting-edge higher education outlets. They are not the major leagues. They should not be given a ride as if they were. In Minnesota, branch campuses exist and can feed their best students into graduate programs or into the professional schools, but never forget the TC campus is the heart and soul of public higher education in Minnesota. It's in the major leagues, as with the Seattle campus of University of Washington, or the Madison campus of University of Wisconsin.

There are levels to things.

And top levels command top level respect. And, top level support. Building a world-class faculty takes decades. Messing one up via dumb legislators and tax pledges can be done in a handful of years. It is like free agency in professional sports. The elite have options to move if management becomes ravening, unthinking dogs. And the legislature, now in Republican hands, is the management - of the purse, which is a big part of things even when academic insiders may minimize things such as pay, in terms of a higher calling, but pay calls too.

So, don't begger the TC graduate and professional school excellence, no matter what other stupid things you, in the legislature, may do.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Andy at Residual Forces indicates new SD 35 conventioneering, GOP flavor.

This link. Previously, here.

With redistricting still a fresh change, keeping the SD 31 and SD 35 distinction straight, after years of SD 48 and SD 49 might not be as hard for others as it is for me. The GOP SD 35 Senate endorsement decision is between Rep. Branden Petersen and Martha Weaver, a former County official and a member of the Weaver family.

It is now Sunday after the SD 35 meeting was scheduled on Saturday, but so far I have seen no online report of results.

While of interest to see who ends up endorsed to oppose endorsed DFL candidate Peter Perovich, the real battle of interest within the GOP's tent - its internal GOP endorsement battle - is between Michelle Benson and Michael Jungbauer, for Senate in new SD 31, with each an incumbent in Minnesota's Senate, (and each having a Wikipedia page).

Benson's Wikipedia page states in part [with links and footnoting omitted]:

Raised on a farm in Murdock, Benson graduated from St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, receiving her B.A. in Chemistry. She later attended the University of St. Thomas, earning her M.B.A. She worked as an auditor and consultant at Deloitte & Touche, and currently works as the executive director of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance.

Active in her community, Benson has been a Boy Scout and cub scout leader, and a board member, treasurer, secretary and administrator for The Way of the Shepherd Montessori School. She is a member of the North Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the National Rifle Association.

Jungbauer's Wikipedia page states in part [with similar link-footnote omission]:

On July 1, 2009, Jungbauer announced his candidacy for the 2010 Minnesota governor's race. He officially launched his campaign in Anoka on August 8, 2009. On November 12, however, he ended his campaign after having troubles raising money.

Jungbauer's viewpoint on climate change has been called into question. It has also been alleged that certain claims he made regarding his studies and degrees may not be accurate. He "claims to have a bachelor's degree from the Moody Bible Institute with a "background in biochemistry." However, MinnPost reported on June 16, 2011, that he never graduated, and that the closest thing he has to a bachelor of science degree is a ministerial ordainment from Christian Motorsports International, which provides "chapel services" at "races, car shows, cruise-ins, and tractor pulls." His campaign website refers to "pursuing a degree in Environmental Policy at Metropolitan State University," although the school has no such program.

There is this from Sen. Jungbauer's campaign page (click it to enlarge and read):

The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

PLANNERS -- Those at Met Council ignored aquifer capabilities far too long, and do not have jurisdiction over the entire aquifer serving City of Ramsey/Anoka County. Now, will they remain wilfully ignorant of soils differences?

The Anoka sand plain percolates water whereas high clay soil regions need stormwater drainage management to a far greater extent. Strib reports on planners and storms. It fails to mention area to area natural drainage differences. The one-size-fits-all mentality and approach of Met Council is galling. If it comes to jobs stimulus via drainage re=engineering and building, do what's needed, but where needed. Pay attention to the land, not the politicians.

Sidebar poll. Primary contest vs. abiding by the endorsement process. (In passing, a word about Mr. New Hampshire and CD8).

The poll has a few more days, but so far it appears a 2-to-1 opinion among readers that Clark, in CD8, should not force a primary contest.

Given how, surprisingly, Dayton won by only a small margin over the likes of Emmer, I wonder whether Kelliher would have won or lost, had Dayton "abided."

The Dems stayed home, the Republicans voted, and think of how we'd be worse than Wisconsin if we had both houses of the legislature Republican, with Emmer governor.

It is bad enough already, but in that scenario ALEC would be bringing in the sheaves. Big time. Dayton forced and won a primary. And now is Governor, like it or love it.

I disagree with the majority opinion, as shown so far in the poll. My vote has been recorded, in the poll, and still there is the 2-to-1 favoring of abiding. I am unaware of Eighth District DFL politics, but given how local party leadership can narrow to a handful of willing individuals, many saying "not me," it can also become unrepresentative of a spectrum of opinion or can show closed ranks. He's from here for years. She's not.

photo from this link
But which really would be the better person to have in Congress, from a statewide and national viewpoint? AND - Which person might have the better chance of making Cravaack a one-term-wonder? (Give him more time to be in the cockpit by disconnecting the seat in Congress - he can only sit one place at a time.)

Should a party process, alone, or a vote testing citizen opinion be decisive, for picking a party's candidacy?

As one not in any party leadership circles, IP, DFL, or GOP - I like the idea of a vote, before the general election.

As one aware of how campaigns now have degenerated into a money game, with early entry into a candidacy being needed to start soliciting contributions, I do understand that the process and realities of money talking favors lessening spending at a primary election level in order to fight the best [best financed] fight possible in a general election. In the Dayton case, money to campaign was not an issue. Most often it is.

I think it is an overemphasized cliche that contests can become bitter and negative, and a bitter and negative - and extended - primary contest can harm general election chances. I expect one will see closed ranks behind Romney, or if there's a brokered convention the brokered candidate - Jeb perhaps - among the GOP. After all, while contesting each other and going negative, there's been no shortage of demonizing Obama as a unity theme, and once one is winner, GOP ranks will close on that theme.

Progressives are dissatisfied, big time, with Obama's inaction and compromise on health care and other things even before the contest starts, but with a Romney, a Jeb, a Gingrich or a Santorum as an alternative, progressives are not stupid. The GOP will never run Ron Paul, so that's not a consideration. Rand Paul as a Veep on a ticket is possible, but second spot almost never is a deciding factor.

At a brokered GOP convention a Jeb-and-Rand ticket would not be impossible. My guess, however, is Obama's seen as likely a two-term president, with Jeb and Rubio and others planning for 2016 and not wanting to be today's loser.

Romney seems uniquely fit for the role, first because he is a loser, and then because next go-round he can simply be told he's had his turn. Financially successful as a corporate raider, a serial killer if corporations are people, but a loser as a human with appeal to any general electorate outside of Massachusetts, where he surprisingly made it to Governor. Others may not see him as robotic as he appears to me, but each of us can only go by personal viewpoints that way. I have not seen much written online of how, "You can't help but love Mitt Romney for the human warmth he projects." Not that warmth and lovability matter much, (after all Gingrich has prospered), but just - "cold fish" seems the best brief description of Mitt Romney.

In 2016, who sees Santorum as again being any factor whatsoever? He is where he is now, trailing the likes of Mitt Romney, and that suggests he is destined for the scrap heap once the Republicans have convened. At least we can hope that.


Diogenes is likely to keep the lantern on in facing Cravaack, unless/until the Chipper's campaign webpage (the about-page) is edited a hair more honestly:

Captain Chip Cravaack (US Navy Reserve-Retired) was born in Charleston, West Virginia but raised in a small suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the third generation of military servicemen in his family. At an early age, his parents instilled in him the principles of duty, honor and country. Because of the demands of being a Navy Pilot and Northwest Airlines Pilot, Chip has lived in many different states and traveled to many different countries, but it is in Minnesota where he has chosen to settle his family. He believes that in Minnesota, the work ethic of the people, the educational opportunities, the focus on the family and the abundant outdoor activities are incomparable. These are the qualities that made him love this part of the country and why he decided to make Minnesota his home.

[...] Chip’s wife, Traci, holds an MBA from The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and they have two sons Nick and Grant.

Diogenes, shine your light on that.Wow. Nothing there about New Hampshire. He likes Minnesota "the focus on the family," (yes the man is innovative in picking phrases). Yet there is only that last paragraph throw-in about his family. All he has to say about Traci and the kids - names and numbers. What about the job? What about truthfulness about where they really live?

In the context of the highlighted lead paragraph text, Diogenes would say same-old, same-old, for sure. Lantern still bright. At least the truth is out, with Cravaack having admitted it [while not fixing the apparent and retained website misstatement].

Here, here, and here.

Check the Wikipedia page, where it says "Residence" - I did the screen grab in anticipation of dueling edits, on that thing, but this is as of today and now, how the page stands [red underlining added], excerpted:

Good luck, if you try to follow the Wikipedia, Note 22 link to reporting. There's a Catch 22 to the Note 22. Links that are publicly open, trouble-free, are given above. Also, here.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
That cockpit photo of CC from his website, is it from his Delta days, (back when it was Northwest with more jobs here), or from within a small commuting craft for the DC, District, home in New Hampshire loop the man maintains?

Or, short the District - after all, he is a strong family man.

Exceptionally talented young scholars deserve recognition and encouragement. Grant Remmen, at UMinn, TC campus.

First, I admit it's easier to follow student-athlete accomplishment - the papers online are full of it. March Madness and Tubby and the Gophers in the NIT.

Hat tip to Strib, for publishing of a unique UMinn Student academic accomplishment. Here.

Because of normal reporting and coverage, I expected news of a successful lawsuit verdict award would go with the headline, "With $250,000 award, U senior has a cosmic future." Not so. This time.

Congratulations to Grant Remming. I did a Google, which led to this, this and this. It appears a number of hopeful young careers are starting, but as in athletics, success at one level does not mean an unhindered future. There are only so many faculty spots that open, and when they open and how the search looks for particular talent means there will be disappointment, as with talented young athletes not ending up with a professional career. Winnowing happens, and talent alone, nor past achievement is any guarantee of lifelong bliss. Let us hope each of the featured scholars prospers.

That said, a focus upon the young gentlemen raises one concern. If the gender distribution is the result of individual choice and attraction to a discipline, then that's okay. Yet if it is in any way suggestive of some institutional bias or stereotyping, women don't look to physics careers because "it's not done" or such, that needs a change. Not that some quota system needs implementation - graduate as many female as male majors in any one school or discipline, but any and all doors should be equally open and gender blind.

That said, young women at the U, look at the sciences, math, and engineering as possible majors. Do the work, get the degree, gain the awards, and become faculty for following generations. I refuse to believe there is some gender based nervous system limit to what women can do in any particular discipline - that brains are wired differently when it comes to intellectual achievement. I first would look at social norms, biases, and stereotyping as an explanation of the fact that the elite physics scholars at UMinn presently happen to be all male.

Gender Reassurance. Going back to another recent year, 2007, School of Physics and Astronomy again, this link, the gender distribution is not out of line. The small sample effect may be at play for the most recent all-male achievement recognition.

Now, back to square one. Grant Remmen deserves community recognition and praise. His award reflects talent and hard work. No matter how smart, one cannot coast to excellence. It takes dedication and work.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ramsey - Sakry of ABC Newspapers reports more senior city staff attrition.

opening few paragraphs, this link

Sakry earlier reported ongoing substantial multi-million non-staff spending plans -- Sunwood rerouting in Town Center, here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A hope would be that "The 99% Spring" is not co-opted and tarnished into a tool, as was done by Bachmannian-Republicans, with Tea Party sentiments.

Co-option is always a worry when out-of-mainstream grassroots get a watering.

The Democratic Party can do what the Republicans did.

Or, strangely, they can listen and learn and CHANGE. Of all things that word again.

Here and here.

Once jilted -- It's hard to again believe in CHANGE. Let's see. Hope, and see.



559 comments. The last time Crabgrass drew that many comments ...


FURTHER UPDATE: Burn those draft cards. Get it moving in the streets. Back to the sixties.

Simple clear truth as Dan Burns sees it.

Quote his ending, in hope you read the link:

Ultimately, what's "ethical," especially in practical terms, is breaking people out of the horrific system of debt bondage. It's really as simple as that.

Not that Dan is alone is seeing what's in front of our noses. Yet it is good to see him speaking of it. Writing of it. Focusing on it.

Bounty hunting on the wane?

Sure it is the basketball season (and those ice skaters with sticks padding and helmets), but football takes the prize today. First the good news - very good news for anyone caring about professional football standards:

full report here

 Go to the link to see the remainder of the story and for the live link to the league press release. Fines should have been a million each, the Loomis guy should have had a full year off, and the draft choices forfeited should have been first round. But that is quibbling, the gist is Goodell put on spurs before jumping all over this one and the Big Easy folks are finding him less than easy.

Other NFL news, via an image and an imagined coversation:

"Hey, big guy with the little contract. Worth a fourth rounder?
Well show them, be second best QB in the Big Apple.
Only, remember they've a Manning with a couple rings, so think second."

If you want to get picky, story details:

Denver general manager Brian Xanders said the Broncos will receive fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, while New York gets a seventh-rounder — all in 2012. The trade first was reported by Fox Sports.

Tebow, who became expendable when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal, is expected to complement Sanchez, who received a $40.5-million contract extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed, earlier this month. The Jets also had pursued Manning.


Tebow's base salaries for the next few seasons are very cap friendly: $1.942 million in 2012, $2.266 million in 2013 and $2.590 million in 2014.


ESPN reported this morning that Manning and the Broncos had reached agreement on a five-year, $96 million contract. Manning will earn $18 million in 2012 without injury protection for Broncos. If he passes a March, 2013 physical, it will activate a $40 million guarantee that essentially would render the deal’s first $58 million guaranteed.

Big guy, little contract is a relative thing, not little for you or me, but look at what Manning got, what Farve got for that one extra painful Zygi-year - Tebow is getting lineman pay.

Read Bluestrem Prairie. Much there, recently posted, is worth your time.

Bookmark it if you have not done so already (Microsoft Internet Explorer calls them "favorites" while everyone else calls them bookmarks).

Apologies for an error. I read the site, I never noticed I was misreading the titie.

Someone who is a tree-hugger [actually meant in a positive sense, an environmentally aware person] pointed out that there is a nature preserve named "Bluestem Prairie SNA," etc. - in Clay County, Northwestern Minnesota.

There is a Bluestem tallgrass, etc. I erred.

The NSA -- Eating more than they can digest? Worse, can they digest it all?

There is the field of artificial intelligence, with a part of the discipline being pattern recognition, and another part being analyzing and prioritizing patterns - all done by very fast machines, so the payroll need not balloon to have actual folks reading all your collected private web traffic stuff. This link, sent by a friend. And - if they cannot digest it all, what has our government spent good money buying?

Read that item. Read it all.

An interesting item, with all the needed links, about Goldman Sachs, and its former agent, Smith.

Not this Agent Smith
A different Goldman Sachs agent apparently, but is Goldman "The Matrix?" There's room to argue for the proposition. While not a betting man in general, I would wager Goldman has its good share of Agent Smiths. With the firm spending a fortune on sunglasses.

This item, this quote:

Shooting the messenger

True, the financial crisis sweeping the United States hit home to all of us, but Occupy Wall Street served the purpose of shining a light on the financial industry. The global “Occupy” movement excoriated Wall Street for being greedy beyond the pale. From these broadsides, America was divided into the 1% of the haves and the 99% of the have-nots.

Enter Greg Smith, six months later, making Goldman look like the poster child for all that is wrong with Wall Street. In his essay, Smith made Gordon Gekko look like a wimp by comparison.

So, why did Bloomberg’s editors make such a fuss, anyway? As a former employee of the company, I have some ideas.

Perhaps its editorial writer felt genuinely insulted by Smith’s apparent gesture of piousness and felt that the former Goldman employee was exploiting the situation. If Smith was so freaked out by Goldman’s greed, why the heck did it take the guy 12 years to see the light, right?

Maybe there’s some sour grapes. I’d be pretty ticked off if I got “scooped” by the New York Times.


Could Bloomberg be acting in the interests of the parent company Bloomberg L.P? After all, its founder, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is himself a distinguished veteran of Wall Street.

Mayor Bloomberg, who didn’t throw his support behind the Occupy Wall Street protesters last year, visited Goldman’s headquarters to give the firm a pat on the back after Smith’s manifesto hit. Read “Goldman, Bloomberg and crony capitalism.”

“The mayor stopped by to make clear that the company is a vital part the city’s economy, and the kind of unfair attacks that we’re seeing can eventually hurt all New Yorkers,” Stu Loeser, a spokesman for hizzoner, pointed out.

[bolding and link in original] That is from page 2 of the online item, and most of the background links are on the opening page, here, so please go there, read that. And the linked items have links. Enjoy.

Gentlemen who rose to prominence and prosperity from within the ranks of gentlemen prefer gentlemen who talk publicly, like gentlemen? What?

And now, here in RAMSEY, we will have a building full of test animals.

That's right. Thanks to the Apartment Guys. Them, and noise. Big time busy freight tracks, next to Nirvana for upscale renters, especially attractive to renters who groove on train sounds. This item, this excerpt:

The team scattered pine cones beneath 120 trees in noisy and quiet sites, and used a motion-triggered camera to record the animals that took the seeds.

Over three days, several animals visited the sites to take seeds, including mice, chipmunks, squirrels, birds and rabbits. Most significantly though, mice much preferred noisy sites, whereas western scrub jays avoided them altogether.

And this is not some junk story, but rather something published in a top tier peer-reviewed publication.

Between BNSF, and F-&-C, we have a test animal setup in the making. And we see it reported, mice have a preference.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Astroturf is astroturf, regardless of who is doing it.

MPR reporting:

Minnesota's unions have formed We Are Minnesota, a fund meant to raise money to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment that would make union membership and the payment of union dues voluntary for all workers.

A Senate panel approved the "right-to-work" bill last week.

We are Minnesota is backed by "public and private sector workers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, teachers, construction workers, clergy, small business owners, local elected officials, students and your neighbors," according to the group's web site.

The committee was registered March 9 with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board by the Minnesota arm of the AFL-CIO, an organization that represents labor unions.

Minnesota AFL-CIO spokesman Chris Shields would not detail We Are Minnesota's members, but said that the group will have announcements about support soon.

[links in original] Here's a hum-dinger link, ya betcha. Nice couple, nice kid, nice dog. How can you be against that? They'll serve you apple pie.

It would be honest to call the thing, "Unions Under Attack," but "We Are Minnesota," that is pure offensive astroturfing and they should feel ashamed for doing it.

To understand what is offensive, consider "Minnesota Family Council." That operation does not stand for the betterment of family economics, nor for diversity in family structure and arrangements. It should, in honesty, name itself, "Evangicals Opposing Abortion Choice." That's what it is and using a less direct name is offensive astroturfing at its very worse.

And now they've got the unions doing it.

I respect and much prefer the directness of, "Garment Workers," for example. "Pipe Fitters" is nice. "Carpenters," is terse but informative, indeed, definitive.

Here's a favorite, "Liberty Lobby." A bunch of malcontents not seemingly helpful at all toward my liberty, but they assume taking the name is okay with me. It's not.

"Occupy Wall Street," at least the people name themselves honestly, and you have to respect that whether agreeing or disagreeing with the agenda.

"Tea Party" gets a little too amorphous. Too indirect. Against something, and it's something governmental, given the Crown and the Tea and the masquerade [as savages] and the dumping of cargo, but it leaves too many questions begging. Is there some cargo embargo they dislike? There is a savage dimension I see in "Tea Party," but as a name choice it seems more emotive and deliberately so, than helpful in defining (and in a slogan stating the gist of an agenda).

Now, worse offender status, where else do you give that top-astroturf-is-you prize, but, "American Legislative Exchange Council." This link, and here.

Rick Berman? He's earned astroturf chops. Last point:

PATRIOTISM, on parade. From this link.

Yup, everyone loves patriots. Without them, what nation would survive the ravages of others.