consultants are sandburs



Monday, April 29, 2013

A quick sampling of some stories that have parable dimensions.

End of April. ATV lake ice breakthrough, reported here. Someone makes it to sixty-four years of age, no learning curve, deficient in good sense, but is it news?

AP story here, headlined, "Pa. woman fatally shoots husband during gun lesson." First paragraph notes, "after they had been drinking."

Hat tip on this to Andy at Residual Forces, his link to here, headline, "Brodkorb seeks $600K in discrimination lawsuit after firing from Minnesota Senate." Apart from that, here is a link to stallion stud fees.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Minnesota Progressive Project links.

From that site, four items, posted top-down in parallel to MPP:

full story, here

Here, for links and all
Here, for links and full item

Here, for full item

More gleaning:
-- Bachmann and Tea Party Caucus story at Roll Call.

-- MPR reporting on Honour as first declared GOP candidate to oppose Dayton,

Honour's LinkedIn page says he's the chair of a gas transportation company in Minnesota. He also served as an investment banker for UBS Bank in Los Angeles.

[...] Honour is best known in Minnesota politics for hosting a high dollar, private fundraiser for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012.

Other Republicans who have said they're considering a run for governor include Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson, state Rep. Kurt Zellers and state Sen. David Hann.

The temptation is strong to note the old saying, "Honour among thieves," but I really have no evidence to factually back up any such usage, and "Honour among idiots" lacks the ring of an old saying.

One has to wonder, however, with a LinkedIn page showing energy industry activity, how the man can disingenuously talk of North Dakota growth as if it were apart from the oil boom and only a matter of political policy. Barking up a false tree. Not good. And one of those Romney bashes, where "The 47%" get bashed, by the 1%. Ho hum, GOP.

From here.


Fact is, Ramsey is big enough and will change and evolve without Scott Honour's hand in our affairs. We do not need to "Grow our community," unless that's some campaign slogan the hucksters invented to mean something besides "our community" which here is Ramsey, not on Lake Minnetonka. Besides, growth is not a universal good, and Developers Are Crabgrass. So our community is fine, w/o Scott's LA-banker hands at play in it, and who needs a governor with ties to the energy industry and likely in lockstep with the KOCH brothers and ALEC? As in don't go away mad, Scott ...

_____________UPDATE_____________
More on Scott Honour, with that spelling hopefully unique and not mixing other folks into the websearch. First,

Meet the financiers hosting Mitt Romney's London fundraiser

Richard Partington
26 Jul 2012

A cabal of senior American financiers will tonight host a $25,000-a-plate fundraising dinner in London for presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Source: Getty


Eric Varvel, the chief executive of Credit Suisse’ investment bank, and Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets American football team are among the big names involved in the event, which costs between $25,000 and $75,000 to attend.

The fundraiser will take place at an undisclosed central London location from 6:30pm.

The event is being hosted by three chairs and 15 co-chairs, many of whom are significant names in global financial markets.

Financial News has looked at US Federal Election Commission records, biographies on company websites and LikedIn profiles. FN has attempted to contact all of the individuals named as chairs or co-chairs of the fundraiser. All of the individuals either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.


Chairs

• Karl Peterson, head of TPG Capital Europe

One of the top-line hosts of the event, Peterson donated $2,500 to Romney’s campaign in June last year, according to Federal Election Commission records. He had also been a financial backer of John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008.

• Dwight Poler, managing director, Bain Capital Europe

A senior figure in the European branch of the business co-founded by Romney, Poler is the second top-line host of the event. He has donated generously to Romney on a number of occasions in the past, according to FEC records, including Romney’s 2007 attempt to secure the Republican candidacy.

Poler is also a prominent Democrat Party backer, having donated to Steve Pagiluca, a managing director of Bain Capital who vied to become a Democrat Party candidate for the US Senate in 2009. He has also donated to Alan Khazei, who ran unsuccessfully to be a Democrat candidate for the US Senate in 2010 and 2012, and Democrat Senator Max Baucus, according to FEC records.

• William Thomas, unknown

A William Thomas of London donated $1,000 in October 2008 to Lindsey Graham for senate and $9,250 to the Republican Party of Wisconsin in January 2008. The details of his employer, usually required for donations, were not disclosed on FEC records.


Co-chairs

[...] Jamie and Scott Honour, senior managing director, The Gores Group

A member of private equity firm Gores' investment committee, Scott Honour is responsible for originating and structuring transactions and overseeing portfolio company exits. Prior to joining Gores, he worked at UBS Warburg as a financial sponsor coverage banker between 2001 and 2002. He donated $2,300 to Romney in 2007 and $2,500 in 2011, according to FEC records. He has also donated extensively to other Republican causes, including George Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Jamie Honour is recorded at the same address in Pacific Palisades, California, by the FEC as an events planner for Grand Affair. She also donated $2,500 to Romney in 2011 and donated $1,500 to George Bush in 1999. She had also donated $1,000 to Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore in 1999.

Pacific Palisades, California? A corporate raider hob-nobbing with Bain folks?

Help for his friends. So when exactly did this Californian move to Minnesota? Apparently still in California in 2008, per following the money flow. Ditto, 2010. And the July 2012 dateline of the quoted item above, mentions the same California dwelling place. Has the man and wife had enough time to unpack their carpet bag? And why is the mainstream press not asking that, and instead allowing the California couple, recently moved - or not, editorial reach?

And what of this:

View profile for Scott M. Honour
Scott M. Honour is associated with Eagle Rock Partners, LLC with the role of Managing Member.
Scott M. Honour has 2 known relationships including Jamie A. Parsley-Honour and Thomas Villante and is located in Beverly Hills, CA.
Source: California Secretary of State last refreshed 3/13/2013

and this

View profile for Jamie A. Parsley-Honour
Jamie A. Parsley-Honour is associated with Eagle Rock Partners, LLC with the role of Managing Member.
Jamie A. Parsley-Honour has 2 known relationships including Thomas Villante and Scott M. Honour and is located in Beverly Hills, CA.
Source: California Secretary of State last refreshed 3/13/2013

So Scott and wife Jamie, co-managing partners of some investment game, in California, yet on his campaign website Honour posts this Leave It To Beaver/Father Knows Best spiel:

click image to enlarge and read

And all that website stuff, "OUR Minnesota" and all? Again it could be two different Scott-Jamie couples, last name Honour, but what are the odds?

And Eagle Rock, is this part of the game? Rock my eagle, Scottie. Tell me: What's up? Wanting a limited offering exemption to SEC registration requirements, via requiring sophisticated investors, into a limited partnership? Some hedge fund or such?

Readers having more knowledge of facts beyond what the web states are asked to leave helpful comments.


_____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Politics in Minnesota reporting, here, seems consistent with web findings stated above. Interesting single comment at PIM, "Just what we need.. Carpetbagger"

Col. Kline moved here, as did the New Hampshire guy that Rick Nolan replaced in CD8. I remember from living in Seattle, the saying, "Don't Californicate Washington." But that was a West Coast sense of rivalry. I wonder how this gentleman will interact with the Liberty Wing of the GOP. So far, he shows little to analogize with Ron Paul.

More like a Tim Pawlenty, with money.

And a campaign website with a bunch of video - hey, Scott, I can read.

Recycling in Ramsey. Easily dispose of old motor oil and antifreeze.

Sakry of ABC Newspapers reporting, this link. Not yet. But soon.

Minnesota Majority poster child at antitax rally at the Capitol is a caricature of a shibboleth of a cliche - and Bachmann spoke as well as Grover Norquist being a reported guest.

I was not there - this is all hearsay. First, worth a headline and at least a thousand words, this image:

"No More RINOS" the lapel pin says.

Is this a RINO? Aka, why is Harold on pins and needles?

Photos from here, which also shows that nice Mr. Norquist.

Someone was kind enough to note the obvious long-term historical merit of the event, and posted an online YouTube video.

My question in all of this, if Bachmann is not a RINO, and still a Taxpayer League sweetheart speaker as appears the case from images and video, what's Taxpayer League Chairman Harold Hamilton's gripe, justifying his arguably premature semi-obit about Bachmann, online here with Crabgrass noting it, here?

In effect, I question what's Harold up to, and what does it reflect about him, his values, his character, his persona vs image, all that?


Image first: WATCHDOG -- not mere Republican hack.

Now, what is the evidence?

First, still a diva against taxes, still Rep. Crazy Eyes, still more show than hard work, still the Michele Bachmann she always was - for over a decade without any single WATCHDOG snarl or bark.

So why the soul searching now?

Well, read what the Taxpayer League Chairman posted online:

IS BACHMANN OK?

It's time the conservative family had a conversation.

Since we're in regular contact with thousands of freedom loving folks across this great state, we know what you're thinking.

And you're thinking that Michelle [sic] Bachmann may be in trouble for 2014.

You're thinking that she has taken on water and may be taking on more, instead of bailing out the boat.

There's nothing wrong with having that conversation.

In fact, now is that time to start that conversation.

Silence masquerading as party loyalty is downright disloyal and is a form aiding and abetting our political opponents.

That kind of thinking has produced the disastrous candidacies of Tom Emmer, Kurt Bills, and Allen Quist (pick any campaign since 1983).

Look, this piece isn't some diatribe against Bachmann or an opinion piece that reaches any conclusions other than that the family would be well served to think long and hard about who is the best candidate to keep the Sixth Congressional District of Minnesota in Republican hands.

Losing the district would be a severe embarrassment and would represent the third election cycle in a row in which the GOP suffered a humiliating black eye.

We say this because there will be many harsh and irrational responses demanding that conservatives all shut up and pretend nothing is wrong.

There will be responses blaming Bachmann's problems solely on the media, George Soros, and the Viet Cong.

The facts are simply that in the last election, Bachmann woefully underperformed the district, especially for an incumbent.

There you have it. Same Bachmann as ever. No more awful than when she was a Minnesota Senator in the legislature. No complaint from Harold Hamilton back then. None, whatsoever, up to now. And what is the complaint? That she's the as***le she's always been? No, but that she's possibly shifted from asset to the REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA to possibly a liability, one who "in the last election, Bachmann woefully underperformed the district, especially for an incumbent" and, this is key, losing the district "would be a severe embarrassment and would represent the third election cycle in a row in which the GOP suffered a humiliating black eye." REPUBLICAN PARTY FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD PLACE CONSIDERATION. THE GOP LOSING, A BLACK EYE, yet only in closing does poised anti-waste watchdog note:

And it doesn't help that with a major liability being the charge that she ignores her district, she has spent to no small amount of time this week bragging about a trip to England for Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

Hey, it's a cool deal to be there to send off the Iron Lady, but the good people of England don't vote in Minnesota's Sixth District.

Moreover, there is trouble ahead with Jim Graves stepping forward for a rematch.

Make no mistake, Graves is a successful businessman who doesn't undertake any big project without excellent due diligence.

The Watchdog has spoken with a person who has knowledge of the Graves decision to run for re-election. That source tells the Watchdog that the data suggests that Graves has a strong chance of winning next year, at least as things stand today.

The bottom line is that now is the time to consider this situation and deal with it.

So, "a major liability being the charge that she ignores her district, she has spent to no small amount of time this week bragging about a trip to England for Margaret Thatcher's funeral," and while the Thather slant is new, the idiot woman has always ignored the district and sought the big stage, FOX talking head darling, all that, and where was any barking out of the Taxpayer League all the time it was going on unchanged to this day?

No, the gripe of WATCHDOG is moods have shifted, and the biggest concern to the Taxpayer League and its Chairman is, "The Watchdog has spoken with a person who has knowledge of the Graves decision to run for re-election. That source tells the Watchdog that the data suggests that Graves has a strong chance of winning next year, at least as things stand today."

So, with THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA possibly set to lose the district because the until now fine-with-Harold incumbent has a whif of what? Not change of stance or ideology. Not a deviation from perpetual complaint against taxation as practiced in the US of A which is the stated bent of Taxpayer League, but a concern of GOP hactivism, possible loss of a winnable election down the line. That paints a picture of a nothing-but-party-hack, and the brushstrokes were Harold Hamilton's own.

Moreover, if this semi-obit Hamilton put online under his WATCHDOG rubric is a true belief - that Bachmann's mojo has run its course, then why invite her to your Taxpayer League hilltop pow-wow over taxes, as a featured speaker? It is as if conspirators put Ceaser in front of a microphone while creeping up behind knife in hand. Disingenuous is a word that comes to mind. Yet, Bachmann has only remained herself, no more no less, and has not crossed any Republican Rubicon into RINO land. Unseemly is another word that comes to mind.

... Graves has a strong chance of winning ...
Or am I wrong? Party loyalty over principle? Winning is all? Despite image development effort as WATCHDOG, standing four-legged and fearless, above any/all partisan fray? BRAVEHEART THE WATCHDOG FOR FREEDOM, with feet of clay? Comments are welcome.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dianna Butler's Experience -- Executive Administrative Assistant Micro Control Company Privately Held; 51-200 employees; Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing industry March 1999 – Present (14 years 2 months)

The headline is from here.

Why should you care? That's your concern, not mine. Evidence is:

Anoka County Union is a real newspaper, and the private sector knows it, e.g., this link.

"Anoka County Record" is a website, and the private sector appears to know it, e.g., this link.

Wow. Besides the headline info, Dianna Butler is a notary. One who is a reasonably short drive away from Roseville, at Harold Hamilton's Micro Control plant/warehouse/offices in Fridley.

Then there is the notarized signature itself, John M. Kysylyczyn, in forma publisher.

Further evidence (online here) is:



Two things there are interesting. 1. The Secretary of State's stamp is a "filed with" notice, and not representing any "verified as a newspaper by" status. Instead John K. signed, (under penalty of perjury), that his game's a newspaper justified in soliciting legal notices, and charging for their being put onto the ACR website. 2. The handwritten "mail me at the Columbia Heights mail drop" notice, so why not at Harold's plant in Fridley?

I do not know whether there is even a desk there, with John K's nameplate on it, and a drawer lock where only John K has the key. Curious readers are urged to ask Harold Hamilton. Ask if you can see a copy of the written lease.

Evidence of sufficient financial gravitas to be "Owner and Publisher" - whatever that's intended to mean - of a county newspaper? Is there such? There is this:



-----------------snip-------------------



-----------------snip-------------------


While the private sector, banks and lawyers publishing legal notice who presumably are sophisticated and knowledgeable individuals, seem universally to gravitate to Anoka County Union, it appears not all town officials do.

From the one link, there is Ham Lake. There is Oak Grove. I wonder if town officials in either of those towns can tell Harold Hamilton's widget warehouse and plant, from a hole in the ground. On that, I have no discernible direct evidence, having never asked them, but what circumstantial inference do you, readers, draw from their choosing Anoka County Record? Do you care to guess at their party affiliation? Factually, I have set out evidence. I have drawn my own inferences, my opinions, but ultimately each reader has a mind of her/his own to independently weigh facts and reach beliefs.

Apart from other things, here is a YouTube link to Joe Cocker, singing, "With a Little Help From My Friends." Woodstock retrospective can be a good break in the thread.


Back to the thread - There is this too, as a latest-greatest item of evidence:



There is a somewhat regular publishing of Taxpayer League spiel, with Hamilton being Chairman of Taxpayer League.

Here is a Wikipedia link noting the song With a Little Help From My Friends "was ranked No. 311 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." Yellow Submarine nostalgia. All that.

And as evidence there is this whois data, friendly enough:



We All Live in a Yellow Submarine.

Coincidently, I sent two registered letters, one to John Kysylyczyn, Anoka County Record, 7956 Main Street, Fridley; the other to Harold Hamilton, Anoka County Record, 7956 Main Street, Fridley. The Kysylyczyn letter was signed for by headline star, Dianna Butler; the Hamilton letter was signed for by a Deborah Butler as best as I can read things. Harold is in a snit over my investigative bent, and in a response email to my email asking his opinion of a Strib item, the email thread was:

.............Me to Harold (and Matt Look) Feb.15................

http://www.startribune.com/local/north/189451571.html

Travel reimbursement:

Dan Erhart $3,216.37

Matt Look was second on the list. He was reimbursed $2,951.60

Carol LeDoux was reimbursed $2,921.44 for three conferences

Barking at each slice of bread. At least as a past practice.

What about the meat in the middle? It's tasty? To a dog?

.............Harold to Me (and Matt Look) Feb.15................

Eric,

As you continue to tilt at windmills, I kindly ask you to refrain from sending email correspondence to my Micro Control address.

That email is reserved for official company business. In any case, I will instruct my secretary to send your email to this address immediately to "junk."

You can feel free to send your ramblings to me at my Watchdog email address, where I may or may not open and read them, depending upon my tolerance for the inane and vapid on that particular day.

Your issue du jour appears to be Commissioner Look's expenses.

Yes, I don't like travel expenses on the part of any government official.

What I like even less is the blatant bias of the Star Tribune.

Commissioner Look was put in the headline even though Dan Erhart retained his title as the King of All Taxpayer Funded Travel.

If Carol LeDoux would have been second, I have my doubts that she would have made the headline.

If Dan would have been second, I have my doubts that he would have been in the headline, leaving Matt Look by himself.

The headline was an attempt to embarrass a member of the conservative bloc here in the county.

An effort that has occupied no small amount of space in the Star Tribune.

Now, my tolerance for the inane and vapid has expired for today.

Try me again next week. Or next year.

Sincerely,

Harold

.............Me to Harold (and John K.)Jan. 28................

Subject: Harold does this guy really have space - a desk, a lease with you at Micro Control

Harold-

Either he does or he does not. I am cc'ing him. But, Harold, if not, getting drawn into the deep end of the pool that way has danger. Everything I see he is running a daycare in his home in Roseville. Where he runs his websites. What's happening?

Either of you can answer, but, Harold, I do put far more credibility in what you might say.

[no response from Hamilton]

.............Me to Harold (and John K.)Jan. 31................


Harold and John -

All I know is somebody, last name Butler at Micro Control signed for a registered letter, and the signature looks to be "Diane" but that is a guess. Any factual help either of you can give in that regard would be appreciated. Thank you.

[no response from either]

.............Me to Harold (and John K.)Apr. 21................

fyi - each of you is mentioned, please advise me ASAP if you dispute any factual assertion

to editor [JK], Harold
And suggest corrections if I have stated any fact wrongly. I am open to suggestion, but I cannot read your minds.

http://zaetsch.blogspot.com/2013/04/ramsey-randy-backous-submitted-comment.html

I believe I am correct on facts, and opinions, although opinion is always a matter of debate and broad First Amendment right.

[no response from either]

......................................

In an earlier thread of email (starting with a Jan. 9, 2013), and quoting email responses from John K. to email of mine, he responded in relevant part:

Eric,

[...] I decided to finance the first year costs for [ACR] operation myself. If you are careful about your expenditures, you can reasonably do this. The way the statutes are written, you have to be publishing for one year before you can be paid for publishing legal notices. I went into this business with the understanding that there would probably be zero profit in year 1, little profit in year 2, and maybe a little larger profit in later years. I have no dreams that this is going to be some huge money maker. But I am not that kind of person. I believe in providing a certain level of public service in everything I do.

Editorial decisions are solely mine. But I have a personal policy to publish all viewpoints that are sent to me, space allowing. Of course, I don't want to be in the business of publishing unsubstantiated rumors. There has to be a basis to comments that are made. There are things that I have published that I don't necessarily agree with or agree with as strongly as the writer does. That's fine with me. My hope is that our material gets people thinking.

[...] I would be responsible for a bond. Thankfully the divorce left me with a home that actually has equity. We were not mortgaged to the hilt with an underwater mortgage. I would have no problem being bonded.

You have to be careful as to what you believe from a competitor. Our name is on the door. If we owned a building, our name would probably be in gigantic neon letters across the front. There is a private office building right behind the county building. No one has their name in gigantic letters on the building. There names are on the window next to the door.

I have office space in the building, computer, printer, etc. We run a totally computerized operation. There is no typesetting, no massive room size printer, etc. I am organized as a single member LLC. There is no HR department, HSA administrator, payroll supervisor, etc. When you are running an operation as an owner, the administrative structure is minimal.

Another thing about a PO Box, is you have the ability to move your actual street address. Let's say two years down the road, we decide to move to Blaine. Not a big deal when you have a PO Box. But if you are ECM, I can see why they don't have a PO Box. They own a million dollar building. I doubt they would have an easy time selling it and moving.

You ask about some place being a mail drop. You are correct, mail is to the PO Box.

I have been involved in keeping an eye on this PAC stuff for many years. Bryan Olson has been too. That has nothing to do with Harold. The best (I say that sarcastically) was in Maplewood where they created a state PAC, for a city council campaign which was held in odd year elections. State packs [sic] only have reporting requirements in the even year. So they didn't have to report anything. They also got contributions from other state PACs that didn't get reported until after the election. It was a legal form of money laundering.

I do not write any of Harold's material. That is him. I read it like everyone else when the emails come into my in box.

I don't think there is any credibility issue. To test that, send us an editorial that takes issue with a public policy issue that you believe the Taxpayers League supports. We probably would print it. Hopefully it would get someone to write an opinion on the other side of the issue. Then we can get a back and forth going.

We do take the news vs. editorial part seriously. [...] We do have information in the paper that is indisputable that it qualifies as news. We have the only summary of all government meetings in Anoka County published anywhere.

There is no co-mingling of finances with anyone.

We are a newspaper that complies with the statutes. PAC's I suppose could own legal newspapers, but I know of none that do. A PAC is an entity that raises money to give to candidates or to spend on candidates. I raise no money for candidates, and haven't donated to any candidate since they eliminated the contribution program.

I chuckled about your comment of being a political operative posing as a journalist. Frankly, I believe that just about every journalist is acting as a political operative of some sorts these days. Balanced media has disappeared in this country, along with quality journalism.

I do political work and I also do a lot of writing. I write both news and editorials. I feel that I can make the distinction between them and I do so by following basic ethics rules. I don't claim to write things that everyone likes. People can certainly disagree with an article or editorial, but that is a separate issue.

One basic rule. In a news article, if you quote one side, you need to quote the other side. Editorials need only tell one side. No obligation to get the other side's opinion.

Talk radio? I have been on talk radio several times. What particular issue? Ok, I see the next email. CD4. What a disaster of an organization. Another thing I could write a book about. Where to begin...

There are client confidentiality issues which is why I typically cannot name names. Unfortunately the public gets confused or people try to get the public confused between the candidate and people who work for the candidate. I this last election, I was hired to do a mailing and brochure design for a mayoral candidate. I didn't write the material, I received the text and organized it. Some of the items I had to ask what they were about. I didn't know the local issues because the election was in a city that I don't believe I have ever driven through. So some people would probably like to make an issue out of me being associated with his campaign. But that would be an unfair characterization. So my general policy is to not disclose these relationships unless the candidate tells me to. In some situations, maybe it helps. But generally I only work for good candidates who are hard working and dedicated. I may or may not agree with many of their positions, but I believe you cannot get good government without having solid elected officials.

[...] Sincerely,

JK

and a Jan. 9 follow-up:

Frankly I don't really care what the rumors are. Rumors are a dime a dozen. If I spent my day chasing rumors, I would have no time doing anything else. I'm sure those who are talking about Harold are doing so because either they don't like him or are upset that Anoka County Record is competitive when it comes to price. The nasty comments coming from the Union about us is due to our price. They have been gouging cities for years, in my opinion, and are being forced to defend that practice.

Many people call the Anoka County Union, "Erhart's paper" so there are comments made about papers all the time.

I think we had a miscommunication about the building and this statement "the county". The building we are in is not government owned.

Actually I am not "quite involved" in Republican politics. I have two elementary school children and a lot of work on my plate. I have held no position in the [Republican] party from birth to 2011 and from 2013 to the future. In all of my years, I only held one position for under a year which was CD4 [GOP] Chair. The organization had disastrous leadership and needed someone to put forward a reorganization plan. I was recruited for the position. After I got in, I found out that there were numerous FEC violations, a budget that was only 50% funded, and a committee that was opposed to doing anything about it. In good conscience, I was not going to look the other way with the FEC violations. We had a parting of ways. That was a good decision for me.

While I do advise on campaigns, actually none of them were in Anoka County this election cycle. There were campaigns in the areas covered by Hennepin County, Ramsey County, and Washington County. I do various services for candidates which I would not consider to be "advising". I do websites, mailings, etc.

I think that party labels are overused. I have worked for conservative, moderate, and liberal candidates. [...]

I always find it interesting that people out there like to claim that one newspaper or another is liberal or conservative. We know that a newspaper like the Star Tribune has more editorials than they could ever publish. So look at what they do publish and you will know their leanings. We on the other hand have published, if I am not mistaken, everything that has been sent to us. So how can anyone legitimately claim that we lean one way or the other?

I sent an invitation to every county board member to publish an editorial from them. The only response I got was from Schulte, and that was when he was on the coon rapids council. I put out the offer to council members also. So it is a little disingenuous for some to say that we have a slant against them when they refuse an invitation to submit their own material. The problem I suppose is that if they do, then they won't be able to complain anymore. Erhart could have sent us an editorial. We would have published it. He decided not to. His loss.

JK

Then in a Jan. 10 follow-up:

[...] To suggest that there is an issue as to where a business rents office space is ridiculous. I presume that the coffee shop by the Ramsey [ed. it should read "Anoka" - meaning the Milk Factory site] train station is now a Republican coffee shop? Because Jim Abeler owns the building? Ridiculous.

This conversation started out well in my opinion. Then we moved to accusations and the claims that I have to prove things to you. Now it has completely gone down hill to rumor, etc.

This will be my last communication with you unless we move back to productive conversation.

John M. Kysylyczyn

......................................

I think that fairly summarizes emailing that were exchanged. I have been unable to get Hamilton to verify on record the assertion he is independent of financing of Anoka County Record and does not involve himself in decisions of what it prints. Kysylyczyn asserts these things. Hamilton has declined to verify what Kysylyczyn asserts.

Last: Has any reader heard the assertion that Anoka County Union is Dan Erhart's paper?

To me that was a zinger. My understanding of history is Elmer Anderson, a former Minnesota Republican Governor, formed the paper after leaving office and ran it initially.


_____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Comparing a coffee shop at Abeler's Milk Factory site, which regularly rents out space,  to a propaganda organ at Harold Hamilton's Micro Control which does not regularly sublease???

You have got to be kidding me.

The term "non sequitur" is becoming a regular disapprobation at Crabgrass these days.

And in terms of website-only status, not distributing papers, how about JK's statement

We run a totally computerized operation. There is no typesetting, no massive room size printer, etc. I am organized as a single member LLC. There is no HR department, HSA administrator, payroll supervisor, etc. When you are running an operation as an owner, the administrative structure is minimal.

How can you read that as anything but an admission, this is a website, this is not a real newspaper? Unless you have some bogus half-cocked cooked-up definition to market, of what the word "newspaper" and the word "printed" means beyond the common usage we all know well?

Friday, April 26, 2013

A bunch of neighboring idiots.

Luddites. They do not favor promoting the possible development of high paying quality jobs in Ramsey. Just build homes. This link.

Rampant idiots. If they want to control the property, they should chip in and buy it.

In fairness, they should have a say in seeking transitional landscaping and other reasonable amenities, things of that sort, but wanting to kill a use, ignorant of what a neighboring data center might be like but ready, willing, and able to postulate a host of boogeyman "reasons" to be anti-progressive.

NIMBY fools, lacking information to buttress their prejudice.

Is any single one of them honestly able to say, "I have seen, toured, a data center and ..."?

Betcha not.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interesting collateral news dimensions arising via the Boston Marathon bombing.

What do you make of this? Strib carrying an AP feed, here:

A spokesman for the state Office of Health and Human Services confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and their toddler daughter had received benefits.

A lawyer for his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva, has said that she worked 70 to 80 hours per week as a home health aide while her husband cared for their daughter.

The state says both Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his brother and the other bombing suspect, received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.

Neither was receiving benefits at the time of the bombing.

State House Republican Leader Brad Jones said he's been in contact with state officials to try to determine the type and amount of the benefits Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family received.

Jones said he's also asked that the state Department of Transitional Assistance verify that all family members met eligibility requirements when applying for public benefits.

"Obviously any past recipient of any past benefit could go on to do awful things," said Jones.

Jones said it's worthwhile, however, to see if the case highlights any shortcoming in the benefit system.

I wonder if Brad Jones' family had ever received benefits, used food stamps, accessed VA medical services, purchased a mortgage-assisted home, taken a tax credit write off, declared a suspect business expense in tax filings, taken advantage of Social Security one way or another, been TIFed, or had a farm or dairy subsidy as with the Bachmann family dairy farm in Wisconsin. That would go for Jones' parents, siblings, children and spouse included. To me that is a pertinent question related to the tune he sings while dancing on marathon victims' graves. Make hay while the sun shines?

In another press service feed, here:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, according to four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation. They insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.

Before being advised of his rights, the 19-year-old suspect told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently had recruited him to be part of the attack that detonated pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line, two U.S. officials said.

The CIA, however, had named Tamerlan to a terrorist database 18 months ago, said officials close to the investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters.

The new disclosure that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was included within a huge, classified database of known and suspected terrorists before the attacks was expected to drive congressional inquiries in coming weeks about whether the Obama administration adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev had posed a security threat.

One hope is that perhaps at least Liberty Republicans may also want to avoid only shabby partisanship and ask about how exactly the persona-non-grata list is maintained, who has access to it, what objective criteria exist before you or I are listed over the websites we may visit, etc. The two words, separate and together, "huge" and "classified" are troublesome.

With secret persona-non-grata listings, indeed, "huge" ones, of people within the country, which Crabgrass reader can definitively say, "Not me, I cannot be on any such list"?

Remember the Nixon enemies list, with entertainers and such listed, somewhat helter-skelter, and with retaliatory motives and hopes still unclear, today.

Lyrical revisionism, here.

_____________UPDATE______________
Another wire feed carried by Strib, here, expanding on the TIDE, which only heightens, not waxing and waning twice daily with movements of the moon:

The terrorist database is called TIDE, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. Analysts at the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center submit names and even partial names into TIDE. About a year ago, there were some 745,000 people listed in the database. Intelligence analysts scour TIDE, trying to establish connections and update files as new intelligence is uncovered.

For entries with a full name, date of birth and intelligence indicating a reasonable suspicion that a person is a terrorist or has terror ties, the person's name is sent to a terror watch list, which feeds into lists like the one that bans known or suspected terrorists from traveling on planes.

Officials say they never found the type of derogatory information on Tsarnaev that would have elevated his profile among counterterrorism investigators and placed him on the terror watch list.

745,000 people listed, if we are to believe AP.

Ramsey has a population of under 20,000.

That is roughly 37 and a quarter Ramseys on the persona-non-grata big list [not the TSA check list, stated to be smaller, but undisclosed in size]. Thirty-seven Ramseys, including every man, woman and child - with the multiplier dropped somewhat if household pets are counted as Ramsey residents. Not that pets make the TIDE. More people than Katrina displaced. Substantially more than the dead in the Civil War, (both sides), added together with US deaths in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq-Afghanistan. Sobering?

FURTHER UPDATE: The accompanying right-side info bars that pop up today, on searching Google for "Wyoming" and "North Dakota" disclose 2012 populations as Wyoming - 576,412 and North Dakota - 699,628. Lots of "naughties" around, it seems.

As of a year ago.

RAMSEY -- Levy at Strib reports on the date by which the council intends to set conditions for a Ward 1 special election.

Strib, here, for the report; which states:

Ramsey Mayor Sarah Strommen said that she thanked Elvig for his service to the city and “appreciated what he did in stepping down.” At the city’s May 7 council meeting, the vacancy and plans for a special election will officially be announced, Strommen said.

The last special election was one Strommen won, for the then vacant Ward 4 seat, where she finished the term started by Dave Jeffrey before running successfully for mayor.

Then, the election was held without a primary, and there were four candidates for the open seat.

Presumably the Ward 1 special election will be conducted in a similar way, without a primary.

Before resigning, Elvig was the longest serving council member, having been chair of the Town Center Task Force, a promotional effort for the project, before his election in 2002 when the first "ward based" seven member council was set up to replace a five member arrangement, all elected at large, which many believe better as a way to run a small town's government. You get to vote against any candidate you do not like that way. Or spin it positively.

In 2006 before the home being redistricted into Ward 2, I ran against David Elvig for the Ward 1 seat, and lost fairly decisively - not as close as the 47 vote margin Elvig held the last time he ran against local Repubican party official Harry Niska.

Possibly one of the Niska spouses may run this time, each being active in differing levels of local Republican inner party activity with Jen Niska having been an Emmer campaign official. I voted for Elvig. And his legal situation arose from a business hammered by cycling of the economy in a way outside of any effect Elvig might have exercised. And where it was not wholly unreasonable for one to hope the market would rebound quickly so that cash would again flow as in better times.

Elvig made business decisions which were contrary to rules set by government as to priorities of business spending, arguably a technical matter where one has to believe that if Elvig had foreseen or been advised of consequential exposure in handling business expenses, he would have acted differently. I do not conclude he was in any real way ill-motivated, from what I have seen reported. I think some of the terminology involved overstates culpability for what happened. I expect many business persons who have been on the brink can attest to the difficulties faced, and be sympathetic.

Nonetheless, there will be a Ward 1 special election soon, and from reading tea leaves and based on sheer speculation, I expect at least three candidates may file, likely more.

Until details are set, and a filing period runs its course, we merely wait and rely upon a working six-member council and HRA until after an election is held and a new Ward 1 representative is sworn in.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RAMSEY and ANOKA COUNTY -- Joint powers agreement pending with regard to shared financing of the upgrading of the Armstrong - Highway 10 interchange.

Below are the two pages of a document scan sent me indicating the process has started in the direction the headline notes. I am unaware whether these pages have been on an agenda for either Ramsey or the county; where things stand that way; but I post the images for readers to review. Readers can contact officials as they may choose, for further detail. Click each thumbnail image to read it.





I suggest readers await ABC Newspaper reporting of detail, since they extensively cover Ramsey and county activities.

____________UPDATE______________
The pages are from a Work Session item 4/23/13, online here. With work sessions untelevised, any discussion would not be memorialized. However, the item largly speaks for itself. The passage of such a joint resolution, reciting it is not a contract but an agreement to reach a contract, will stand as an expression to third-party money sources of inter-governmental solidarity on fixing the interchange. It is but a part of a Highway 10 upgrade, but one with which the upgrade can be started. Need for the interchange improvement has always been justifiable beyond any hopes anyone may hold that a Town Center renaissance miracle will follow. It likely will not.

RAMSEY - I did not attend Tuesday's council meeting, nor watch the broadcast, but I have been informed that Dave Elvig resigned.

Readers are reminded that QCTV video-streams the latest meeting online, here.

If you forget to bookmark that link, the City's webpage, at the third bullet point beneath the Mayor's photo, posts the link.

I have not reviewed the video-stream of the meeting to confirm the information that Elvig gave notice of resigning at the start of the council segment of the broadcast, and after speaking briefly and thanking people, stepped down from the dais to not be a part of the balance of the council and HRA sessions.

UPDATE: Sakry's online reporting confirms the information; and to read some of Elvig's statements and more detail, link to Sakry's ABC Newspapers online report, here.

From a few days ago - will Koch brothers buy Tribune media outlets?

Strib, here. Who knows? Next it might be the Kochs looking to buy into a share of Anoka County Record. Predicting the future is never a clear-cut option. It is always guesswork, but would the Koch brothers feel it, the Record, a kindred adventure?

__________UPDATE__________
Readers deserve a bit of a fair usage "you decide" preview, if wrestling with the above questions:




Click the thumbnail images to read. Wow, Krinkie writes, "I Owe My Soul to the Company Store." And he works for Taxpayers League. Until now I did not know Taxpayer League had a store.

_________________
NOTE: Readers should be informed, Watchdog.org is independent, or appears so, from any of Harold Hamilton's "watchdog" enterprise. It would be improper to leave an impression to the contrary.

If the name Annette Meeks makes one think, Tom Emmer, well that is yesterday's fish.

Today's fish, ripe as yesterday's, here and here. And that board, the Vin Weber guy's there, and lo, the staff, Tom Steward - Record's p.1 author touting gutting of prevailing wage. Steward has a LinkedIn page, here, and hey,

Regional Communications Director at John McCain 2008 Campaign
Communications Director at U.S. Senator Norm Coleman

At a guess, with such a social fabric shown, there is only one thing I think creating a gap between the Koch brothers and these other luminaries of our times - the others have less money than the Kochs. There is that, as a difference. Money-wise, the Koch brothers are closer to Nasser Kazeminy, where I admit to the flaw that whenever I read the name "Norm Coleman" I am unable to dissociate the name of Nasser Kazeminy from the name Norm Coleman. I cannot fake a disconnect, the association is hard-wired into brain circuits.

Coincidentally, who do you think Jeff Larson is renting to these days? Yesterday's fish do seem to ripen with time.

------------

And, finally, Tom Steward's LinkedIn page also notes,

I am Investigative Director of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota's Government Transparency Team, charged with identifying wasteful spending and programs at the state and local level.

That tasking, and I bet that headquartering in Excelsior, the guy has never heard of Flaherty, or of Landform. I could not find any indication of his writing of either. Our Town, Ramsey, may be off his radar too.

But tied to Excelsior, do you think Steward may have heard of Marriann Stebbins, another small business owner in Excelsior?

___________UPDATE__________
In the worth adding category, Stebbins in Excelsior, at least as of March 3 closed Classic Child, noting on Facebook that the roof leaked.

Aside from that, we have the Emmer recount fiasco tied into this Steward guy, with the name Tony Trimble involved in the organization where Trimble is on the board and Steward on staff (see links in the "Today's fish ..." paragraph above).

And did I say Koch Brothers? Or global warming denial? Here are a few supplemental links of interest, and you may spot some familiar GOP names with a dearth of any DFL ties (did you expect any); here (Tony Trimble), here, here, here, here.

As much interconnection as with slime mold.

This Google, and you can try your own variations if you've time.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
I cannot now identify the stream of thought that reached the point of recalling the SNAFU thing in the past in Duluth -- did Mike Hatch call the guy a "Republican hack" or a "Republican whore?"

And while I cannot retrace the thought processes, the thought of that definitional dispute did pop into mind.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
More, mediamatters.org on the pseudo-news poseurs, as tight together as slime mold, and with capacity to slant and to deceive:

How A Right-Wing Group Is Infiltrating State News Coverage
Blog ››› July 11, 2012 1:35 PM EDT ››› JOE STRUPP


[...] The Franklin Center is a multimillion-dollar organization whose websites and affiliates provide free statehouse reporting to local newspapers and other media across the country. Funded by major conservative donors, staffed by veterans of groups affiliated with the Koch brothers, and maintaining a regular presence hosting right-wing events, the organization boasts of its ability to fill the void created by state newsroom layoffs.

The group's editors claim that their "professional journalism" work is walled off from the organization's more nakedly political operations and say that their "pro-taxpayer, pro-liberty, free market perspective" doesn't compromise their accuracy or independence. But many journalism professionals - even newspaper editors who reprint the work of Franklin Center affiliates in their own pages - speak warily of the group's ideological bent.

[...] "I think it's viewed as something other than a regular news organization," said Betsy Russell, president of the Capitol Correspondents Association of Idaho and a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review of neighboring Spokane, Washington."They report on their own organization's activities and they reveal it, they give more play to stuff their organization is pushing."

Such a conflict was enough for the Capitol Correspondents Association to deny membership to IdahoReporter.com on two occasions, in 2010 and 2011, denying them access rights to the legislature enjoyed by legitimate news outlets.

The website did not seek credentials for 2012.

Russell says of IdahoReporter.com: "It was basically a lobbying organization that linked to a news arm. They very plainly don't qualify and are not going to qualify" as a news organization.

IdahoReporter.com is one of 55 news sites covering state government in 39 states that have ties to the Franklin Center, which claims to provide 10 percent of all state government news in the United States.

[...] The group has its origins in the Sam Adams Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes free-market Tea Party-style citizen activism, which "helped launch" the Franklin Center in 2009, reportedly providing the nascent organization with "seed money," according to the National Journal.The umbrella group took in $2,378,931 in contributions and grants in its first year, and $3,776,997 in 2010, according to the most recent disclosure forms available.

The organization is not legally required to identify their donors, but disclosure forms from other large conservative grant-making organizations offer a glimpse at the Franklin Center's subsequent funding sources.

[...] This large and growing funding stream has allowed the organization to steadily expand. After launching with 22 new state sites and three sites that existed previously and joined the Franklin sphere of influence, the group added 15 sites in 2010, 10 in 2011 and, so far, four in 2012.

The organization also highlights its ability to influence the debate outside the narrow confines of those sites, bragging in a May 30 fundraising email, "When you give to the Franklin Center, you have an immediate impact on the power of our reporting. Legacy news outlets regularly pick up our stories, driving them far beyond the typical audience for online news."

Indeed, the Franklin Center's focus on state legislative news allows it to take advantage of a long-running downturn in staffing and resources at mainstream news outlets' statehouse coverage dating back nearly a decade, providing content local newspapers are otherwise unable to afford.

Okay, but in Minnesota local papers can survive and, like ABC Newspapers, even prosper because they sell copies for some cash flow, sell advertising since they have substantial true distribution, and importantly, sell legal notice posting services. That latter item of life-blood support to actual, real, independent local press, is crucial and not to be undermined by fraudsters posing as papers but primarily promulgating propaganda.

We can speculate who might fit that latter characterization.

mediamatters.org continues with the money quotes, including unravelling of Koch ties [slime mold for certain] to slanting of "news" behind a propaganda agenda:

"In the newspaper environment, there are just fewer bodies to go around anywhere and that has meant cutting back fairly dramatically on statehouse coverage."

The Franklin Center claims this downturn in mainstream state reporting as one of the reasons for its existence, noting on its website: "Cash-strapped and under-staffed, local and regional newspapers often can't provide the real information that voters need to make good decisions."

Several newspapers acknowledged using Franklin Center reporting to fill a void caused by cutbacks and layoffs, albeit with a great deal of unease at using a source with such a clear ideological perspective.

[...] For the weekly Rock River Times of Rockford, IL, Illinois Statehouse News has allowed them to have state legislative coverage, according to Brandon Reid, assistant editor.

But he said he must review the articles more closely than others.

"It's definitely a concern, it makes you question everything that you see from that source," he said of the Franklin Center ties. "I would have to look at each story individually and make a decision."

Reid noted one recent story, a June 27 article on Obama's healthcare program, which drew some stinging reader comments accusing the writer of using only conservative sources.

The Center's journalists "absolutely have a mission, but so far the mission is 'go investigate waste, fraud and abuse at the state level,'" claims Will Swaim, Franklin Center managing editor who oversees the websites' content. "We need to watchdog state and local government."

Swaim's background includes serving as editor of the alternative OC Weekly and LA CityBeat. But he has also blogged at NewsBusters.org, the right-leaning media criticism site run by the conservative Media Research Center.

Complicating the ethical dilemma confronting editors who would run Franklin Center reporting are the array of conservative events the group sponsors through its "citizen journalism" arm. These include a conservative blogger conference in April that featured discredited right-wing voices Dana Loesch and James O'Keefe. It also holds regular citizen watchdog training seminars that promote conservative principles and feature O'Keefe, Franklin Center staffers, and other conservative luminaries.

Franklin Center is also listed as a co-sponsor of the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. According to the CPAC site, that means Franklin Center contributed at least $5,000 to the right-wing event.

Steven Greenhut, vice president of journalism for the Franklin Center, says these activities are not problematic for the group, claiming a separation between the Center's conservative slant and the news sites' work.

[...] But Greenhut has shown his own partisanship, most recently during the bitter and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, which was heavily covered by the Franklin-linked WisconsinReporter.com.

In a column at Reason Magazine published June 1, and promoted in a Franklin Center E-Newsletter on the day of the June 5 recall vote, Greenhut openly supported Walker. In the column, he wrote: "Democrats will surely resurrect dead voters in Milwaukee, so I'm hoping that Walker's margin of victory--polls show his lead at 5 to 7 points - is strong enough to exceed the expected margin of voter fraud."

A June 15, 2012, Greenhut column about union efforts posted at WSJ.com also slammed unions, describing them as "insulated from voter concerns" and "increasingly militant."

These positions are not anomalous. Greenhut is listed as a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative think tank which has received significant funding from foundations headed by David and Charles Koch.

Greenhut is not the only senior Franklin Center staffer with ties to the Koch brothers' web of right-wing organizations. At least three staffers at the organization previously worked for Americans for Prosperity, "the most prominent political group backed by the Koch brothers." Erik Telford, the Franklin Center's vice president of strategic initiatives & outreach, previously served as director of marketing and online strategy for Americans for Prosperity; Mary Ellen Beatty, Franklin Center director of citizen outreach, oversaw communications for Americans for Prosperity's 32 state chapters; and Alicia Barnaby, Coalitions Coordinator, was previously AfP's Development Associate for Corporate Relations. The Franklin Center's director of development, Matt Hauck, has been an associate at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Even one of the Center's directors, Rudie Martinson, previously worked for a Koch-backed organization, as an assistant state director for AfP.

[...] Then there's Tabitha Hale, Franklin Center's new media director who started earlier this year and has a strong conservative background. She has written for FreedomWorks, RedState.com and Human Events.

A top Tea Party advocate who worked with Smart Girl Politics and traveled with the Tea Party Express this spring, Hale has drawn praise from the likes of Michelle Malkin for her right-wing activism.

"I oversee and work with reporters on an individual basis," Hale says about her Franklin Center duties. "More as a consultant...I help them get set up and teach them about different tools."

She contends her political leanings do not influence her work with the news sites.

[...] One of Ohio Watchdog's lead contributors, Maggie Thurber, has had a controversial past. A former Republican Lucas County Commissioner, Thurber was among four Republicans convicted in 2006 on misdemeanor charges in connection with a prominent coin dealer's effort to illegally funnel money to the 2004 George W. Bush campaign.*

Thurber did not respond to requests for comment.

Thurber and the others were fined $1,000 each and received no jail time, although they could have faced up to six months, The Blade of Toledo reported at the time.

WisconsinReporter.com, the Franklin Center site in the Badger State, has reached a level of influence hard to match. The outlet managed to get four of the five major Republican candidates for U.S. Senate to participate in an April debate it sponsored, while also being given press credentials from the Wisconsin Capitol Correspondents Association.

"They're seen as being very conservative and not just trying to find waste and fraud but they are pushing a real political agenda, much more subtly," claims Dan Bice, a columnist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The site "represents yet another dangerous blow to the traditions of objective news reporting and, I'm afraid, the future of America's democratic discourse," Dave Zweifel of The Capital Times, one of two daily papers in the capital city of Madison, wrote last year.

Bice cited an issue that arose in August 2011 when the WisconsinReporter.com claimed that Wisconsin Jobs Now, a pro-union coalition, had bribed voters with a barbecue event and rides to the polls during last year's U.S. Senate primary.

Dubbed "BBQ-For-Votes," the story was taken up by WisconsinReporter.com after the conservative Mediatrackers.org posted an item that used an anonymous source making the claim.

"What they have done is influence the outcome of elections," Bice said about the story, which never resulted in any charges or findings of wrongdoing by Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Harold Hamilton has declined to respond to "follow the money" email requesting he disclose his financial backing and/or other ties to the Anoka County Record, clearly so and on the record, for all to know and weigh.

mediamatters.com continues:

In Iowa, The Telegraph Herald of Dubuque -- which has been publishing articles from IowaPolitics.com, a Franklin Center site, since April 2011 -- noted reader concerns in a lengthy column posted Jan, 17, 2012, by Executive Editor Brian Cooper.

He acknowledged concerns about the website, writing:

The rap on the Franklin Center service is that its funding comes largely from conservative organizations and donors - the center does not provide details - and thus its news coverage leans accordingly. I am aware of this criticism of Franklin Center sites, and we approached their content with caution.

While many Franklin Center sites hide their donors, others apparently believe clear political ties are nothing for which to be ashamed. One example is Nebraska.watchdog.org, which reveals on its site ties to Pete Ricketts, leader of Nebraskans For Fiscal Accountability, a conservative organization that has donated to several Republican candidates:

Nebraska Watchdog is a groundbreaking independent news web site dedicated to original investigative and political reporting. We are affiliated and funded in part by the non-profit Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and Pete Ricketts, founder of Drakon LLC, an asset management firm based in Omaha.

Ricketts was a 2006 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and is the son of Joe Ricketts, the multi-millionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who recently made news after it was disclosed that his foundation had been presented with a plan to spend $10 million on ads pushing links between Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a Ricketts spokesman subsequently denied that the plan had been seriously considered).

The Franklin Center recently extended its conservative ties further, teaming with the Heritage Foundation to co-sponsor awards in the name of the late Andrew Breitbart, a staunch right-wing commentator who was often criticized for slanted or inaccurate reporting.

Breitbart? Did I mention slime mold?

Columbia Journalism Review weighs in, explaining:

The Franklin Center is perhaps the most ambitious conservative news organization you’ve never heard of. Founded in 2009 by Jason Stverak, a former Republican campaign operative, and initially funded by over $2 million in seed money from the conservative Sam Adams Alliance, the Franklin Center funds small online news operations in 18 states. (CJR’s Guide to Online News Startups has profiled several Franklin Center sites.) Eschewing the usual online mix of punditry and aggregation, the sites produce an impressive amount of investigative state and local political reporting, often focusing on government waste and public employee unions, both of which the Franklin Center dislikes. According to its own website, the Franklin Center “already provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide.”

When it first began, the Franklin Center served as sort of a news incubator, giving money and training to independent news organizations across the country, many staffed by veteran reporters with longstanding ties to the states they were covering. (The sites varied in quality.) Now—according to the Franklin Center’s vice president of journalism, Steven Greenhut—the Center is consolidating those independent sites into one main site, Watchdog.org, that contains all of the Center’s statehouse reporting. The Center also runs a citizen journalism platform called Watchdog Wire, and publishes some content on its own site, FranklinCenterHQ.org.

The sites report from an obviously conservative standpoint, about which the editors do not apologize. (Though the Franklin Center’s website claims that its sites are nonpartisan, this seems only nominally true.) “We try to set the agenda. That’s what a good newspaper does and what a good website does,” said the Center’s Greenhut, a former O.C. Register columnist, during a panel discussion in Tampa the week of the Republican National Convention. “We have a point of view. Big deal.”

[...] But does their ideology delegitimize their reporting? The Franklin Center stories that I read appear factually accurate, if occasionally odd in emphasis. For instance, it doesn’t seem particularly interesting to me that during the DNC there were people stationed at the trash cans at the Time Warner Cable Arena forcing people to recycle (“call it a miniature nanny state,” wrote Franklin Center’s Dustin Hurst). But there are lots of stories coming out of the convention that don’t interest me. The trash can thing happened, and I guess someone might consider it news.

“There’s a lack of transparency over the whole issue of bias,” said Greenhut during the Franklin Center’s panel in Tampa, scoffing at the way journalists convince themselves that they are completely fair arbiters of the truth. “If you don’t think you have a point of view, then I think you’re more likely to be biased.” The question lurking beneath his argument: is having a conservative bias so much different from having a soft liberal bias, or an establishment bias, or any other bias of the sort that colors so much political coverage?

The worry with sites like these is that a casual online reader, or a reader of one of the local and regional newspapers that run Franklin Center statehouse reporting, might not be aware of the Franklin Center and its agenda or “point of view,” as Greenhut put it. Think Progress, funded by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, is a site that’s somewhat analogous to the Franklin Center. Its “About” section notes that the blog exists to “provide a forum that advances progressive ideas and policies.” The Watchdog.org site, however, makes no mention of the site’s conservative leanings, instead characterizing itself as “a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity.”

There’s not necessarily anything nefarious about this. But it’s confusing in a way that Think Progress is not. And while this sort of explanatory language is technically accurate, it also comes across as somewhat evasive. The sites aren’t particularly open about their funding sources, either. Whereas other nonprofit news sites—like CJR, for example—list their major donors, the Franklin Center does not disclose its funders. They say they do this so that editors and reporters won’t feel unduly influenced, or unduly pressured, and will feel free to write the stories they want to write, but this is unconvincing. The point of disclosing donors is to reassure readers, not to free writers from vague editorial pressures which can be exerted a thousand different ways, anyway.

Odds are, the money behind the Franklin Center sites comes from conservative donors wanting their priorities and positions represented in news. But the money behind the news has always been politicized; publishers have always purchased newspapers in order to push their own agendas. This isn’t to excuse or justify this sort of activity, just to say that the Franklin Center certainly didn’t invent it. Yes, it’s important to trace the provenance of the money that funds reporting, especially in an era when it’s so easy to set up benign-sounding groups and nonprofits that serve only to mask the true motives of the people providing the money. And it’s important that readers know where, agenda-wise, the Franklin Center comes from—just as it’s important to know where any news organization comes from these days.

As noted above, before the extended Columbia Journalism Review quote in which I added red highlighting, Harold Hamilton has declined to respond to "follow the money" email inquiry about his ties to Anoka County Record. Just as Hamilton declines on his Watchdog sites to acknowledge himself as Taxpayer League chairman, with his opinions coming from a direction and not just out of some simple dog's mouth.

John Kysylyczyn who asserts himself as the driving force behind Anoka County Record, should, for adequate disclosure purposes, be noted as having been the CD4 Republican Party Chairman recently, for almost a year, before his being ousted with Pat Anderson voted to take over the chairmanship, and with the ouster having been under acrimonious circumstances reflecting on Kysylyczyn's capability, leadership and conduct with one critic being long-time Republican web writer Mitch Berg - not one to criticize from any known DFL/progressive perspective. This Google.

The lack of disclosure of underlying things biasing that online outlet galls me as much as or even more than it calling itself "a newspaper" when it is devoid of any distribution network for PAPER to be available for purchase at convenient retail outlets - as with, newspapers.

It is a website, not a distributed paper. How that can be defended in terms of this being "a digital age" and in terms of "traditional printed media" suffering hard times is debatable, but for Christ's sake a newspaper is a newspaper; and calling a horse chestnut a chestnut horse does not make it so.

Line the bird cage with Anoka County Record sometime.

------------------------------

Wrapup - Watchdogwire, and Franklin Center FAQ page, here and here respectively, so readers can juxtapose their characterization of themselves as against what others have been quoted above saying.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ted Mondale skates.

Strib, here, reporting on Mondale's nice deal with the Petters' bankruptcy receiver. And, talk about being a Wilfare Queen:

Kelley said in an interview that Mondale did not have the financial wherewithal to pay more than $50,000 of the $150,000 personal loan made by Petters in 2005, three years before his $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme became known publicly.

The loan purportedly was given to Mondale to help his business at the time, Nazca Solutions, a software company that planned to help clients track and search property records on the Internet for a fee.

Nazca, founded in 2004, was struggling at the time, having never posted a profit, and soon was overdue on a software project for Hennepin County. In 2008, Nazca posted a net loss of $5.7 million, according to a forensic accountant who examined the transaction on behalf of Kelley. The company was sold in 2010 in a deal where the acquiring company assumed Nazca’s debt.

Mondale, the former chair of the Metropolitan Council, is paid $160,325 a year as executive director of the sports facilities authority, which is overseeing construction of the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

From 1999 to 2003, Mondale held several executive positions with the Petters organization including executive vice president for business development for Petters Group Worldwide. Petters in turn, invested $750,000 in Nazca and sat on its board of directors until 2007.

Doesn't it make you wish your dad had been Vice President?

Mucking out the stable on this one.

Strib reports Montana's Max Baucus will not seek reelection.

More on the new found Republican sport; whapping the pinata - Eric Black at MinnPost writes, "Republican Bachmann’s Sixth District should be solid red. In fact, it is the most pro-Republican district in Minnesota. A generic Republican starts with about an 8 percentage point advantage, according to Cook Political Report’s 'Partisan Voting Index.' Yet, Bachmann won reelection last year by less than 2 points against political newcomer Jim Graves, and despite the fact that Bachmann outspent Graves by about (hold your breath) 12 to 1. Bachmann spent more than any other House candidate in the country and barely survived. [...] One of the long-time Republican operatives who spoke to me off the record said 'a lot of Republicans think Michele Bachmann is the only Republican who could lose that district.' [...] Bachmann also would be disconnected from reality if she didn’t know that she is no longer considered a rising star in Republican circles. Her presidential campaign flamed out early and left her looking fairly foolish (not that she was the only one). [...] She was tolerated by the House leadership because of her following within the Tea Party wing, but even that is now in doubt. [...] You never know what to make of people who say things like this, but if you take it seriously (either that God did call her or at least that she believed God did), it is hard to subject speculation about her possible retirement from politics to normal logical analysis." OUCH.

But, Eric Black, why were you not noticing things of this nature years ago, before writing, now? Better late than never can be said, or is it hearing an ascending drumbeat but not electing to have ever led the parade?

There's more, Black's item is online here, so please read the entire posted item for full detail.

And "tolerated ..." is perhaps as good a characterization as any for this Congressional specimen. My recollection which seems vivid, is Michele Bachmann was tolerated by mainstream media, Black included, in contests over the years involving clearly superior ultra high-quality candidates, namely Patty Wetterling and Tarryl Clark. Only when a suitably business-firendly DFL quality offering was advanced, Jim Graves, have the pundits of Graves' opposing party and the press taken due notice of arguably unsatisfactory ongoing dimensions of the incumbent specimen. Dimensions that are unchanged from day one in the Minnesota Senate, with change being only on how inner party guru attention is changing with the press taking notice of the guru shift.



See recent earlier Crabgrass, on the subject of current GOP mini-seismic Angst, here. Incorporate all that evidence and thinking into this post by reference.

See SOMETHING REALLY STUPID, here. Spinning an entire premise about possible GOP "luminaries" not residing in Minnesota's CD6 and how that might be problematic is quaint, given that Michele Bachmann lives in CD4 and not CD6 as things are currently districted.

The argument does not hold water, with Bachmann's last run having vented and vetted all that concern by noting how judicial precedent allows a resident of anywhere within a state to run in any congressional district in-state. Simply put, a question of district residency would not work to prevent a great roller-blader like Tom Emmer pushing a DumpBachmann candidacy, nor is an editing out of Emmer-mention or Hegseth-mention by Black somehow causally related to Kurt Zellers being a resident of CD3. Something like that premise of the True North post is True Wrong.

Here's one. My idea, so don't blame Eric Black for this hummer. Watchdog acolyte and savant, the in forma publishing impresario John Kysylyczyn, the Record fellow, run him. He should make the all time list of Bachmann alternatives for those who now suddenly break out in a sweat over Bachmann's feet of clay, abuzz, "She's got feet of clay. Of clay, by golly. Under the bus. Under the bus. The bus, the bus, by golly, under the bus." Same feet as ever. Same bus. Only the "under" rhetoric arises anew.

Run Kysylyczyn. Send him off to DC, keeping the district GOP and proudly so. Note for later - I say it here and now, it would be very likely I would cross over on primary day to vote Kysylyczyn on the Republican ballot side, if he's on the primary ballot, GOP side. A crabgrass promise. I might.

_____________UPDATE_____________


Here's a fine example of one of my big complaints about Bachmann, she starts, presumably with Uncle Sam being you and Ben Dover the Ramsey Taxpayer, footing the bill, some half-assed self-agrandizing stunt like this, which she then flits away from, the last press release on site being dated summer, 2012. And, also, she talks against waste.

Two ABC Newspaper online items, one giving notice of an adult health survey to be conducted in Anoka County.

First, there is Sakry's report of the Elvig trial resulting in a jury guilty verdict, here. As usual with Sakry's reporting, it is tightly written but detailed. Have a look. No excerpt needed.

The one aspect of the report that I will digress on, Sakry reported Elvig's defense attorney to be "Richard Malacko" and while I could not track down a specific business website for him, it appears from contact info given here that he is affiliated with noted Twin Cities defense attorney Earl Gray.

Everyone should know of a defense attorney, if ever needed, and if in custody and/or subjected to any police questioning where self-incrimination is even a remote possibility, nobody should do anything but exercise the Constitutional right to counsel, while declining to say anything beyond making the request for counsel, until counsel can be contacted and then you follow what the lawyer says, as he/she knows more of what's best than you do. Some police personnel might prefer you do otherwise, that being something that can make their job easier, but others - I cannot say most vs a minority - have due respect for the rights of every citizen under our Constitution, including those such as Miranda warnings, need for probable cause to arrest or search, etc.

County Adult Health Survey. It appears the survey will be by randomized selection and mailing; detail reported online, here. The report states

The survey will be mailed to approximately 3,300 households starting the third week of April and asks questions about residents’ access to health care, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and other social, physical and mental health-related issues.

Results will provide specific data on health risk behaviors and the overall health status of adult residents in the county.

All households have an equal chance of being sampled [... and] information gathered from individuals will be confidential.

Wilder Research, based in St. Paul, will be conducting the survey on behalf of Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services.

Okay, that last paragraph put me on point - can any reader help, is Wilder Research a generic survey firm, or one having a past history of political survey work for one of the two major parties in Minnesota? The process of choosing a survey consultant piques my interest as much as detail of what will be surveyed and how the data will be used.

So, is there any crony or partisan dimension to the choice or Wilder Research, or not? I know nothing of the firm, and have no cause to believe partisanship/cronyism at play, but it is something we, as citizens, should always be aware of as a possibility, since our vigilance can lessen likelihoods of partisan abuse.

For those interested, there is a Wilder Research web presence suggesting it to be a fully professional operation; e.g., here, here, here, and here listing staff. If any of those staff names ring any reader's partisanship bell, please leave a comment.

Online, the only political thing I found, a Wilder employee exercising personal rights, in a pro-DFL manner; but one person does not prove any trend.

The foundation publishes an online financial statement, and is noted here, for awareness of 501(c)(3) cautionary awareness, per listed publication 7, "Avner, Marcia. The Lobbying and Advocacy Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations, (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation)."

With the present county board having a Republican majority, and with a Wilder Foundation awareness of the rules, it looks to be a squeaky clean choice of consultancy. No local legislator on the consultancy payroll sort of stuff; and with but one individual actively supporting DFL candidacies being all I found. It is no GOP hotbed being favored by a GOP dominated county board, or at least that appearance seems wholly absent, which is good. Reader comment is welcome.

UPDATE: One further Wilder publication listed as a reference re "Strategic Planning and the Public Sector," here, "Barry, Bryan W. (1997). Strategic planning workbook for nonprofit organizations. St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation." Photo caption, hosting a debate, here. It all looks sound and fully above board, crony free, and that's great. That being said despite a strong bias and skepticism about the general efficacy of planners and planning. Having objective survey based data on adult health parameters in Anoka County before any policy decisions about county adult healthcare only makes sense. Otherwise policy is set in a vacuum.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
PiPress publishes on the Elvig trial outcome, adding no real substantive detail beyond what Strib and ABC Newspapers already have online.