consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In considering devastation of pristine lakes and streams in exchange for a short-term handful of jobs on the Iron Range mining copper +, if we tell them no, it does not mean the world goes without copper wire for generators to light up our homes.

If big mining gets its chance to screw over the north wilderness for a few lousy short term dollars to mining firms from North American [and/or more distant] towns remote from the destruction, it is pure rapaciousness at play, not an either/or sudden-death need for copper now at all costs to Minnesota's northern ecosystem, or perish in a colossal flameout of deprivation from metals needed to make the world go round.

There is Riko Diq.

Let the problematic balancing act be in Balochistan, instead of the Boundary Waters.

Moreover, crap containment in a sparsely populated desert area on the other side of the world has a more promising likelihood of containment working, never mind the additional advantage to us, of it being on the other side of the world.

RAMSEY - Franchise fees, and Country Joe [no fish].

During the last Charter Commission meeting the Country Joe, Inc. v. City of Eagan case from the 1990s came up for discussion. What was involved there is different, but akin to what Ramsey is considering, apart from use of a franchise fee having a statutory authorization basis. And Eagan then was a statutory and not a Charter city. For what that's all worth in considering precedent.

To see the arguments both ways for that case, and the factual posture in comparison to things now under city review in Ramsey, the situation is ideal. The Court of Appeals went one way, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed. As expected, reading one case then the higher court's exposition, you can see how spinning the facts and law is a judicial art.

Both versions are online. Appeals court, here. Supremes, here. Google's "how cited" page for the Supremes, here.

One wonders why the League of Minnesota Cities' lobbying has not intervened to create new legislated taxing authorizations specific to road upkeep needs. The franchise fee approach is a backdoor approach, clearly, not as clean as things would in a best world be. Years have passed. Still precedent, but how limited/distinguishable? Unless Ramsey were to do something that gets litigated, it's really moot. With everyone on the same true civic responsibility page the process can get moving productively, now, without anybody making it a ballot political football. Big "if" yeah, but expect it to be maneuvered onto the 2014 ballot. That is how the informed [smart?] money is betting.

With Ramsey all aflutter over franchise fees and road degradation, have you driven the length of Ramsey Blvd?

Get with it Anoka County. It drives like a third-world road. Or post-apocalytic low maintenance.

I drove Ramsey Boulevard and survived.

Today, in a Jan. 28 blog post, we see Brodkorb making nice to the Emmer political zamboni, a mea culpa included.

It is sad reading, here. Reminding one of the posturing and positioning during the Investiture Controversy.

I bet they make Brodkorb stand longer barefoot in the snow wearing sackcloth. Before the excommunication is lifted.

More Brodkorb, Jan 24, 2014, here, on Ortman's having to look to find a list of party prelates for her plate.

Big tent. New doorkeepers. Brodkorb does close that Jan 24 item with a single sentence paragraph:

Please check back to later this week for additional analysis on the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

[link placed where red highlighting was in original]

Congratulations to Ramsey's Jen Niska, for a highly responsible spot on a well positioned campaign.

McFadden fund raising reporting, here. A seven-figure war chest reported.

This screen capture, from here.

Harry too. Along with Jen. On the list. Click that image. Enlarge it to read. Both attracted no doubt by McFadden's strong public positions on substantive issues as well as his exceptional presence at candidate debates and forum opportunities.

Expect the Niska spouses to be doing all they can, any way they can, for the McFadden and ballot-wide GOP GOTV effort, this fall. Anything that might get like-minded folks to the polls is fair in love and war. Up ballot, down ballot, get folks involved. Playing the game. Positioning the ballot.

RAMSEY - Charter Commission, and the most recent franchise fee parry and feint. And ...

Headline, image, and opening paragraph - this link. Actually, several on the Commission want quite a bit to see it on next election's ballot. For whatever reasons.

Perhaps this is a better image than kicking the can. Political football, and with all politics local, it's a small world.

Rhonda looks nice, if you look at the numbers. Squeaky clean, or mostly so.

Bluestem Paririe again, here, and another thought, WDHB.

(WDHB = Who Does Hubbard Back).

After finding out the WDHB answer - if you can - there's always the devil lurking, that devil being WHY.

A Google. All of you Tea Party - "GOP base" - groundlings, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

UPDATE: Make of this link what you choose.

FURTHER UPDATE: Emmer for Congress, its missing issue page, here? Here? What - where did God, Gays and Guns go? No fresh meat for the base? Shame on you, hockey goon.

FURTHER UPDATE: This, less than a year ago. You will not find the likes of that elsewhere. Or elsewhere.

Strange world, isn't it. UPDATE: What about elsewhere? Fat chance. But getting warm ...

ANOTHER UPDATE The headline is not specifically mentioning Emmer. The body of the item, unfortunately, does not mention Dianne Feinstein and spouse.

ANOTHER UPDATE Who else might have a missing issue page, here; all that money and a dearth of publicly aired issues. Redefining the Republican landscape after two failed ballot initiatives?

But -- such a barren landscape, nothing there, empty.

Is it Back to the future? Back to Nixon Republicanism, but without that crook, without Kissinger a part of the public persona, but a seat at the table for Bechtel, now as then? Not your cup of tea? Learn to accept.

Met Council - More invented numbers to "justify" a sound policy?

Strib, here, presumably the matter is reported elsewhere, likely with Met Council links Strib omits.

[...] As the region, just like the nation, grows more diverse — 9 percent people of color in 1990 in the seven-county metro area, compared with a projected 43 percent in 2040 — it’s imperative that solutions are found.

The Met Council projects that if race-based income disparity could be eliminated by 2040, and 298,000 regional residents were moved out of poverty, there would be 182,000 more high-school graduates, 137,000 more people working and 216,000 more homeowners. This in turn would pump nearly $35 billion into the regional economy over the same 30-year span.

[...] A much more aggressive, strategic build out of the transit system could happen if Dayton and the DFL-controlled Legislature work together to accelerate investment in transit. Dayton’s bold sales-tax funding proposal fell victim to politics last session. Election-year politics shouldn’t be an excuse for inaction this year.

With the nation increasingly focused on inequality, it’s time for Minnesota to do more to reduce disparities that if left unattended will hinder the state’s economic trajectory. Smart investments in transit and housing must be part of a broader strategy.

Inventing numbers helps little. Do you trust any of that smoke?

Next, it is the morally decent thing to fight poverty, and it is morally indecent to move more toward twenty-first century feudalism rather than backing away. That is the justification, along with transit leading to less waste of limited fossil fuel. Combustion is needed in cement kilns and in metallurgy, which are precursors to housing and capital structures being built as needed, when needed, but combustion can be replaced or curtailed in moving people around. Moreover, questioning an economy in the digital age still largely dependent on moving people around is a step in what may be a productive direction. Met Council has a compelling bias on moving people around. It pays the paychecks of the apparatchiks. Go figure that one.

Yes public transit makes sense, so reexamine the planned removal of trolly transit after World War II.

To fight a postwar unemployment depression, short term things were done, and big oil loved it.

Next, go back to those TC demographic projections at the beginning of the quote. Who says? Why so? Based on what long term policy, and why would that be considered the default sound policy to pursue? Who, at the top of the human "food chain" stands to benefit from such evolution of demographics?

Question the premises, not the logical flow from them. Unless/until a clearly articulated basis for the publicized numbers is made public, it's total hooey. It all seems a house of cards. Huff and puff, and it blows down, and another scenario can be built. Why this one? Again, key questions: Who says? Why so?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Republican state legislator, like Nienow, with a half million dollar debt that appears delinquent. Not an SBA loan, a real property mortgage.

Bluestem Prairie reports.

Raving idiots having misfortune, as a random thing, may not be news. Lenders pulling the plug on recalcitrant individuals expected to be allies, if happening, might be news. One has to wonder on the indebtedness of each and every legislator, who holds the payback paper, and is debt used by those not wanting sunshine on them, as a tool in their arsenal to manipulate those in elected public office, i.e., those somewhat in sunshine. It may be coincidence, but Pawlenty and Coleman prosper, Pawlenty being given a big bank paycheck, and Nienow and Leidiger are run aground. Is there a difference in politics of the two camps, and what should we in the public infer from such a limited data selection? Also, should we await a larger data collection, on a possible go-along to get-along dimension to things? As we move to the 2014 elections? Thinking of the GOP being made up of factions and the Honour and McFadden candidacies seeming to be tied into one faction, then thinking of that in the context of the two debt calls on Nienow and Leidiger, is a thought experiment that can raise more questions than answers. Raving idiots having misfortune, may be a lesson, to other more pliant raving idiots. Is that an answer? The question being, who is calling the shots, and before that even, are shots being called in concert or is this random activity like sunspots? Will other shoes drop? Will the Bachmann ethics kerfuffle show some resolution prior to 2014 voting, or will it hang fire to possibly be an example of something, for some folks to notice, post election and while legislation is being proposed and enacted?

Supreme Court issues a patent law burden of proof ruling favorable to defendants in infringement cases, with Medtronic the defendant in the case.

Other sites likely have the story, but this quote is from Ars Technica, Jan 22, 2014:

In patent disputes, it's the patent holder—not the accused infringer—who must always bear the burden of proof. That's true even when the parties had struck a licensing deal in the past, the US Supreme Court made clear in a ruling published today.

The case decided was Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures. Michel Mirowski and co-inventor Morton Mower were pioneers in the area of implantable heart-stimulation devices (pacemakers). Medtronic paid royalties to Mirowski for some of its products, harking back to its first licensing deal in 1991. But the company said a new generation of devices didn't infringe, and it resisted paying for additional patents Mirowski had acquired in 2003 and 2007.

Mirowski, no surprise, disagreed. The two parties went to court, with Medtronic firing the first shot: a so-called "declaratory judgment" lawsuit saying that it didn't infringe Mirowski's patents.

The situation escalated last year, when the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation's top patent court, ruled that the burden of proof in that dispute should actually be on Medtronic, not Mirowski, as the lower court had ruled.

Today the Federal Circuit was overruled, in a 9-0 decision written by Justice Stephen Breyer. The burden is always on the patent holder to prove infringement, he explained—even in a situation where in the past, the accused infringer agreed to take a license.

Since patent licensing is so common in the tech sector, the case will have implications beyond the devices at issue. It will generally offer a slight tip of the scales of power, away from companies that want to enforce their patents and in favor of companies that want to challenge those patents.

[link in original] Opinions that short, and unanimous, are rare for the Supreme Court, now or otherwise in history.

Desert air must breed idiocy. "The Arizona Republican Party formally censured Sen. John McCain on Saturday, citing a voting record they say is insufficiently conservative. The resolution to censure McCain was approved by a voice-vote during a meeting of state committee members in Tempe, state party spokesman Tim Sifert said. It needed signatures from at least 20 percent of state committee members to reach the floor for debate. Sifert said no further action was expected. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers declined to comment on the censure. But former three-term Sen. Jon Kyl told The Arizona Republic that the move was 'wacky.' 'I've gone to dozens of these meetings and every now and then some wacky resolution gets passed,' Kyl told the newspaper on Saturday. 'But most people realize it does not represent the majority of the vast numbers of Republicans.' Kyl also said McCain's voting record was 'very conservative.' "

This link. It appears in Arizona the first day of April is not needed for fools to show up and convene.

Error prone, I can see that charge sticking, Palin being proof. But not a conservative? RINO McCain? Get real.

Who are these people?

What have they between their ears?

Doug Grow starts a multipart MinnPost series on the minumum wage question.

This link.

Dinkytown, a true walkable community area that evolved that way and was not shoehorned to it, now without the Dinky, and with pressures toward growth.

Exurban/suburban growth is not the only version that carries differing views. No excerpt, read of it, The Daily Planet, online, here. The Daily reports. Origin of the name itself, Dinkytown, see here and here. It is no former cornfield collapsed timeframe planner dominated "vision" thing, it grew up naturally to be that way and many are attached to its staying largely as is. Indeed, it is the land speculators that want to change it, rather than elsewhere where land speculation effort fueled and fed upon "walkable community" thought.

Tuesday Feb 4 precinct caucus date, noted by The Daily Planet.

Here, apart from earlier editorial comment, part of a New Ulm joint LTE, on caucusing:

“As leaders within our political parties in Brown County, we would like to personally encourage you to attend your precinct caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

The precinct caucus is a gathering of your friends, family, and neighbors to exercise your rights in the American political process. It is your first opportunity during an election year to talk about issues, learn about the candidates running for statewide and local office, make recommendations for changes in your party's platform, and choose delegates to represent you at upcoming county conventions and beyond.

You are welcome to express your opinions on important issues, or you can come just to listen and observe. The atmosphere is similar to that of a neighborhood town hall meeting where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and all participants are treated with fairness and respect, regardless of whether you are expressing your opinion or just listening to others.

The caucus system in Minnesota is a unique system in the United States, where ordinary citizens have the opportunity to participate not only in the selection of the candidates who will represent your political party but also in defining the issues and positions under which those candidates will run in elections. It is participation citizen democracy in action.

Jim Hahn-Chair, Brown County, Republican Committee

Lori Sellner-Chair, Brown County DFL Committee"

That describes caucusing well, although one or both parties may have primaries locally, or over statewide seats.

Historically, it has mattered to some caucus-goers - probably to a majority - to see which candidates for office will "abide by the endorsement process," meaning, letting the caucus-convention process set general election candidacies, without resort to a party primary.

Strib reports - Anoka Hennepin School District contract negotiations with its teachers.

Online here, dated Jan 22, 2014, this mid-item excerpt:

In the Anoka-Hennepin district, local union President Julie Blaha said work-to-rule “really shines a light on what teachers do during the day. It really highlights how much our teachers are doing above and beyond for our students. We are asking the district to support that with a fair settlement.”

Said district spokeswoman Mary Olson: “We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement.”

Anoka-Hennepin teachers have proposed a 2.5 percent raise in each year of the contract and no change to benefits.

According to the union, the district’s last offer, in December, was for a raise of 1 to 1.25 percent in the first year, depending on experience, and of 1 to 1.55 percent in the second year, and for teachers to pay more of future increases in health care costs.

District officials would not discuss specific offers.

If you do not know what work-to-rule means, read the item. If you want more than that very sparse excerpt, read the item. If you care at all about the school district in Minnesota with the largest student enrollment, and its relationship to its teachers when collective bargaining is happening, read the item.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tom the Dancing Bug explains privacy and economics, as is, in our fine old US of A.

Privacy. Economics.

MORE - friend of the Kiff.

Power to the people.

This link. You expected something else, from the headline?

An interesting website.

Every so often I come across a personally maintained web page that appears unique in perspective, unique enough to bookmark it and read a bit. One, found today:

Nick Chan.

Political party precinct caucusing, next month.

Starting link, the SoS "Caucus Finder":

DFL, caucus page.

GOP, caucus page.

Two Googles, one for DFL, other for GOP.

The DFL has an online pdf form for its caucus Chair/Secretary to fill out and centrally file.

Presumably the GOP has something comparable, with finding it online being left to readers who wish to search.

Long-term thinking about the politics of robotics, and artificial intelligence, as those engineering disciplines impact capital and the workforce, nationally and world wide.

Start with the David Atkins post on Digby's Hullabaloo, from Friday, Jan 24; here. It gives a single link, worth following, and mentions The Economist and an Oxfam item. Readers are left to track down the latter by web search.

Worth reader bookmarking as favorites,

The Economist homepage.

The Economist, recent issues.

The issue referenced in the Atkins item is online here.

I do not recall whether it was a 60 Minutes segment, or other TV, or an online item, but I recall the gist as an MIT robotics professor noting that while the world's manufacturing has migrated to China as a current hub, with low labor pricing a key factor, capital investment in the US in robotics/automation could be, right now, cost competitive, if that were to be an adopted national policy of bipartisan long-term support.

It makes one wonder, the austerity doldrums the US and European workforce has experienced for years, since the lame duck time of the Bush presidency, was it engineered by the invisible hand [Davos?] to condition prosperous populations to a post-robotics economy? (Presume for the thought experiment that Davos = the 1%).

Ramsey - ABC Newspapers, coverage specific to our town.

Readers mignt want to bookmark the link, it no longer is an ABC Newspapers homepage menu item, and then read the town's official newspaper's coverage, specific to the town.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I get an impression Sally Jo Sorensen thinks I do not like Bluestem Prairie. That is a wrong impression. She does excellent work.

Please, if any reader looks here and believes I have a negative viewpoint of Sorensen's work, that absolutely is not so. She breaks stories that otherwise might go unnoticed, and she has priorities that to me seem wholly sound.

Again her Bluestem Prairie is one of the best private news sources in the State. Sorensen has been recognized with an award for excellence. It was deserved.

If any reader in a comment or by email would let me know if he/she noticed anything I have posted that is negative or appears so, regarding Sorensen's work, please let me know and I will consider it and do what is needed to correct any such impression.

I corrected an earlier post that was insufficiently written because it could be read as my disliking Sorensen's work. That correction was needed, and my hope is it resolves an unintentional ambiguity that came from less than good writing on my part.

UPDATE: Recently, Sorensen broke the Emmer remodel video story, and the Nienow SBA loan default story, mere months apart. That is a record the great majority of mainstream media workers cannot match. This post was exceptional.

So, Sorensen is good on breaking news and good on tight detailed and well-documented analysis. And with an eclectic range of interest. People should respect and follow her work. Her writing of the Nelson v. Franson story moved it from local reporting to something noted statewide. Breaking the story in that sense. The Franson "feeding the animals" story was one I believe she broke, I am unsure, but if not the first to publish, this post was early in telling the story. She authors a solid news and opinion outlet. If some would criticize her for being critical of Republicans that is a characteristic and not a fault, just as Gary Gross characteristically writes favorably of Republicans.

Dan Burns at MPP posts about the TPP. Learn of it since it touches everybody's wallets [less so, the 1%, who are kept happy].

This link. Linking here. Pay attention to the banner on that second linked page - save a thousand words.

And the name of that detestable swine, Max Baucus, it shows up so you know there's something not right about the entire thing. Baucus seems to have been a lost-at-birth third Koch brother.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ramsey Town Center rattlings.

[click the image to enlarge and read] Hat tip to the reader who sent the heads-up email. It was a trial balloon. Deflated by lack of use.

I think it was one of those Reagan "supply side" economic adventures.

They bought and paid for the supply. Actually, Ben and other taxpayers did.

But for supply-demand to equilibrate and reach a sane balance, supply alone is insufficient.

Zippo demand put it with other flotsam and jetsam on the sea of Town Center great ideas and dreams.

An innovation too soon before its time? Whatever. It failed. Or in Town Center speak - it succeeded insufficiently.

This link, the lead image from there, Paul Levy for Strib, yesterday, this excerpt:

From now until June, the midday eastbound 852 bus out of Ramsey Station belongs to James Horvath. Most days, he’s the only passenger for the first four miles. Other days — like Wednesday — absolutely nobody gets on the 1:03 p.m. bus at Ramsey Station.

When Ramsey’s commuter rail station opened 14 months ago, Metro Transit agreed to extend Bus Route 852, once a day, four miles west to the train station, to give Ramsey residents a midday alternative to Northstar trains designed for early morning and late-afternoon commuters. But the added bus stop has turned out to be a little-used one that Metro Transit says has wasted fuel and manpower.

Come June, which will be 15 months into what was supposed to be an 18-month trial run, it’s likely to be the end of the line for the extension.

“Rarely does anybody get off here,” bus driver Glen Wiemelt said as he prepared to leave the Ramsey station Wednesday without passengers. “I’ve had as many as three riders get on here, but never more than that. This is typical.”

The 32-mile 852 express route is among Metro Transit’s busiest, averaging 1,100 rides per weekday. But the 2013 average ridership for the four-mile route extension was one customer per trip, Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr said.

Now, with "Metro Transit" having agreed to the experiment, who has paid/is paying what? Levy's answer:

Ramsey residents are paying $295,000 a year to be in a transit taxing district — with taxes going toward Metro Transit services, including Northstar. The city does not pay extra to have Route 852 extended to the Ramsey Station. Metro Transit said it didn’t have an estimate of the cost of extending the route.

Kurt Ulrich is noted by Levy as admitting it was tried and found wanting. The city council must officially pronounce it an ended trial. Still - part of getting that ill-used Ramsey Northstar stop was committing to the three hundred grand per year pop for a stop with no pop, and a trial midday bus.

Can you say "waste?" Can you say "Why?" Our County Board District 1 rep, he talks against waste and sees in his mirror a fiscal conservative. What do you see? Besides a stop with no pop.

On Jan. 11, Levy in a brief item wrote of county board new year adjustments and assignments:

Other committee chairs include: Julie Braastad, Intergovernmental and Community Relations Committee; Jim Kordiak, Parks and Community Services Committee, Waste Management and Energy Committee and Internal Audit Committee; Carol LeDoux, Public Safety Committee; Matt Look, Regional Rail Authority, Finance and Capital Improvements Committee and Wetlands Review Committee, and Robyn West, Management Committee, Information Technology Committee and Benefits and Compensation Committee.

[italics added] Look has from almost the start of his tenure on the County Board been the Regional Rail Authority head honcho for the county, and was instrumental along with former Mayor Bob Ramsey and consultant Darren Lazan, in getting this three hundred grand per year arrangement in place for Flaherty -- and us.

Curiously, anti-waste fiscal hawk watching dog, posted:

The other race is over in District 5, where Carol LeDoux is stepping down after a few years of doing, uh, nothing as far as we can tell.

The empty suit will has apparently decided that sitting around watching Matt Look and company get things done was exhausting and thus an inducement to retirement.

Good riddance.

Woof to you too, pup. At least Ms. LaDoux has not stuck Ramsey taxpayers with picking up a three hundred grand per year tab, yet the woofer had much spleen to vent frequently in the past when Dan Erhart had a dinner tab or two, over Northstar matters.

Poor old dog, blind in one eye and can't see out the other. Throw him a bone.

Now curiosity upon curiosity, we get the same thing on the one other website headquartered per Secretary of State filings in the dog's Fridley doghouse:

" US withholding FISA court orders on NSA bulk collection of Americans' data. Justice Department refuses to turn over 'certain other' documents in ACLU lawsuit meant to shed light on surveillance practices."

Stiffing the ACLU, on discovery, because WE are the government, WE can, and WE will. This Guardian link (Tuesday 21 January 2014 13.16 EST). The above headline quote is Guardian's quote. No excerpt here, so read the original; and note that other privacy-related Guardian reporting is linked to from that page.

Where's Waldo? FBI, NSA know, but who will they tell?

Cellphone location reportedly can be tracked even if the phone is powered off; and there is Stingray; the warrantless use of which has been allowed as not violative of the Fourth Amendment, by at least one trial court.


If the founding fathers had planned the Revolution by Internet, we'd all still be singing God Save the Queen. That is how it is, although we may feel it is not as it should be.

Yes, the allowed warrantless Stingray tracking was used against an identity thief, a bad guy, but privacy protection under Fourth Amendment precedent is almost always litigated in criminal proceedings, and criminals generally are not the most well mannered members of society. Indeed, many of the well mannered Wall Street criminals seldom are part of precedent, because they seldom are prosecuted, and if so, a deal gets cut where the firm and not the instigating individual fesses up and pays the government money with nobody sent to the slammer. Or culpability often is left hanging to avoid consequent civil litigation, a settlement without admission of guilt being fashioned, and the deal is struck that way.

Deal made, no appeal, no precedent. Smooth.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ramsey Town Center rattlings.

Legacy Christian Academy, remember them? Here. As in, where did all the MSA money go in Ward 3.

Flaherty and - of all things - subsidy, in the news.


... except when I do ...

Double speak, Orwellian in dimension, although not on the national stage, reported here:

Daudt said that he did not approve of Weinzetl's showing up with the gun and didn't even know that Weinzetl knew where it was kept. Daudt said he had it in a small compartment under a seat in his car and had put it there just because he was on a 14-hour road trip to Montana.

"I do not drive around with a gun in my car," Daudt said.

Politician on tour. Of all things, this time of year.

Strib, here. Expect what? Entertainment? Depth?

"Federal investigators are still studying the Dec. 30 crash, when the eastbound train carrying crude oil collided with a derailed westbound train carrying soybeans. More than a dozen oil cars caught fire and exploded, belching a plume of thick black smoke into the air that cast a long shadow over Casselton. The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation won’t be done for a year or more, but it says up to 425,000 gallons of oil burned or spilled from 18 cars involved in the crash, making it among the worst crude-by-rail spills in U.S. history. In its preliminary report, the NTSB said the crash caused an estimated $6.1 million in damage. "

The headline is from Fargo area reporting, online here. Still waiting, more wait to come. Track upkeep is an ongoing local, state, and interstate concern.

RAMSEY - A Charter Commission meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 27, 2014 , for the purpose of discussing a Charter amendment as it relates to franchise fees.

At present, unless I am mistaken, we await a specific meeting agenda. Re levy limits and the franchise fee question, and the need for equitable ways to finance road projects in Ramsey, this link.

UPDATE: City staff has posted a meeting agenda here.

How about that, sports fans? The Roberts court shuffle.

This link. Perhaps it reads too much into things. We wait. We see. If the Roberts court is reaching as far as the item author conjectures, it might be time for extensive amicus briefing.

More Nienow.

Avoid distractions of any kind. Follow the money. Demand a full accounting, as a public responsibility, from SBA genesis, to where's it gone. Less is whitewash.

UPDATE: Tevlin has a good analysis, online here, but always and intently keep the eyes on the prize. In this instance - the money. Where from, how attained, where is it now? The politics of the process.

Getting their tickets punched.

Politicians. Rubbing elbows. This Strib image. This Strib link. Political season in bloom, despite subzero temperatures outside the hothouse.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bluestem Prairie and Gary Gross both write of Nelson v. Franson, an inner party top dog contest over a single legislative seat.

Sorensen, here, linking to Gross, here. Clearly, in Gary's comment thread the answer is Nelson believes she'd do a better job than Franson and that's her cause for the challenge. Not that such a belief constitutes too high a self image, given where the bar has been set.

Now, does Franson have any outstanding SBA loan, and if so is it being serviced? Ditto, for Nelson.

A brand spanking new litmus test, besides abortion-hate, for Republican candidates, thanks to circumstance.

CLARIFICATION/CORRECTION: Sorensen had two posts on point, not a single one, i.e., here AND as previously noted, here. Sorensen's "lesser evil" post details how Nelson appears well able to make it under the bar set by Ms. Franson's legislative/election performances. Huffed over all the wrong things, it seems. Except, Franson had a narrow brush with defeat last election, snatching the seat as remaining hers per recount, and for the GOP one wonders whether that's a greater sin than SBA loan default; posting of the Laura Brod skivies photo, or other deviance from strict orthodoxy.

There surely seems a resounding and universal lack of GOP concern to get to the bottom of that skivies photo thing. Among them, no, treat it as if it never happened, to Regent Brod, move on, nothing to see here, ....

Unresponsiveness to investigate and act tells a story.

UPDATE: Press coverage of Nelson v. Franson here and here. Curiously, a link to Bluestem Prairie, here.

Reader help needed. A link to any online bio of Sue Nelson. Franson as a legislator already has public pages, and has been in the news. Nelson has a generic name that makes websearch difficult, i.e., noise intensive - too many such Sues. Best I could figure, search = Gretchen Hoffman, then presume Gretchen was cloned, like Dolly the sheep, and the clone was given the name Sue Nelson. Readers, please send links by email or via comments, to flesh out who Sue Nelson is, her education, work and business experience, and her record of published public commentary. The race is interesting, and the Gary Gross post, its tenor, adds to the interest. Do read it. Just at a gut level, Franson appears as more a survivor, and Nelson a complainer. Hard to say, on scant evidence, obviously; but that race is interesting in itself and as an example of something else. Factionalism and opportunism are human traits that are innate as well as culturally shaped. Is there a "we" vs "they" dimension, or just two folks wanting one chair? On a gut level again, two at the other end of the political spectrum from where I am, Franson looks better. And that is a "Wow, really," assessment in a two-horse race on a rural minor track.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
And this is important. Instead of a lesser evil context as set out above, there appears to be a greater good consideration, or two, pending caucus decision making. MPP, here and here, most recent first. The Simon v. Hilstrom Secretary of State DFL contest is another one in greater good posture. And what dreadful alternative awaits us there, on the GOP side of things? Darkness, in the dreary ALEC land? Unfortunately, there is a recorded history, suggesting either a spiff and make up, or a lingering thing. Either way, abiding by the caucus endorsement process, working for the common good, should prevail, in all three contests - GOP in the hinterlands, and DFL focus on winning Secretary of State as well as holding onto a district seat. Party civil war, either party, involves casualties.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
It takes a total pompous idiot to make Mary Franson by comparison look good, and with a link sent by a reader, it appears Sue Nelson has that talent in her:

G.O.P.-- the Growth and Opportunity Party, is a call to action for our drive to put forth conservative values. And we shall perservere [sic]!

I pay tribute once again to Congressman Arlan Stangeland, who was called Home to the Lord this year. A true patriot, a can do kind of American, Arlan set the bar high for those of us who have inherited the Party of Lincoln. Arlan believed in our county, our district, our state and our nation and to him and all those who went before, we can, no we MUST carry on. Arlan was quoted, when asked by his daughter, why he kept doing all that he did. She explained to him that he had put in his time, that he could let others do the work..His reply is another reminder that we are in this fight for the long haul. He respnded [sic], "I don't have "quit" in me". How humbling and a call to US that this nation, GOD given, is worth the fight. NONE of us should have QUIT in us.

When the New Year arrives, as always, be thankful for all that the Lord has given us. Remember those who have given so much to this country. Our veterans deserve so much more than we can ever repay but we can start with respect and our prayers, with support and with gratitude. We owe them no less.

Cliche, typos, lots of GOD, "... our drive to put forth conservative values." Maybe she meant, "put fourth," as in after God, Country, and Family. Then after that, fourth, conservative values. Or would Apple Pie be in there too. Likely, apple pie would be subsumed in "consevative values" in the Sue Nelson worldview.

What should Landslide Franson worry about, in that? Franson might as well look on to the general election. At least Ms. Nelson did not characterize Stangeland as having been "raptured," there is that in her favor. The word "died" was available, but apparently not fit for use by Nelson. Also, "went before?" As in, died previously, I think that's what she means.

Pompous to a fault.

How about, "Arlan Strangeland died, and we will miss him." After all, that's all she really wrote.

The quote is from "Notes from the Chair,"

Sally Jo Sorensen's first post on Nelson v Franson sets out an entire statement, lengthy not pithy, in which Nelson boldly declares, "You all know me to be issue based, and with that I ask that we realize that the true threat to our freedoms is the march of liberalism and those ugly tentacles that would destroy our rural way of life, our families, and our economy." Gee. Ugly tentacles, okay.

Lady, the truth is folks who read cannot find a word on "issues" in any cogent and sensibly presented manner to follow up on your claim. But there is "our rural way of life, our families and our economy," which also would put fourth, "conservative values," if separate and not subsuming all those things glommed in there with messy sticky apple pie to be a mishmosh named "conservative values."

Does any reader know of a link where this Otter Tail County Republican leader says "boo" one way or another on a real issue, a policy she'd pursue if elected, thoughts about bills she'd present if elected, (any of that boring old stuff she eschews getting into)? If so, please send a link. How would Nelson propose generating quality jobs for young college educated residents of Otter Tail County, to keep them there contributing to the local economy? God provides? Is there any more to it? What is the action plan she has in mind to help veterans, and with what problems? "Our veterans deserve so much more than we can ever repay but we can start with respect and our prayers, with support and with gratitude," is fine as a platitude. But, so what, Ms. N, unless you have distinct policy suggestions in there somewhere in your head? If so, it would not hurt to state them. At least one.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Also from the Otter Tail GOP website, this item. Paralleling the text.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
I think I have found an issue. Guns-R-Us.

Facebook. Here and here. Screen capture, from last link:

click to enlarge, read, and shrug

This screen capture from the first link per this update, the Facebook page for the family business, hinting to Nelson having Second Amendment issues:

Want more? Click a thumbnail.

And that is the family business, as the family publicizes it to the world, on the web, Sue Nelson posting. Moreover, pinning things down beyond doubt, the Mike McFeely KFGO post on the Sue Nelson candidacy notes:

The Alexandria Echo Press newspaper says Nelson owns Nelson Talent and Event Management, and along with her husband, Brian, also owns and operates Tactical Defense Systems, teaching permit to carry/conceal carry classes and personal defense and protection classes.

Teaching guns, preaching guns, God, guns, and --- more guns.

Back in 2009, this. Back in 2010, this. 2010, behind a paywall but with a pic of Mr. Nelson, here.

Last, Sue Nelson writes LTEs, at least this one, in the same bloviating, flagwaving, God loving, wordy fashion as when posting on the county GOP website [as was quoted above].

Gun lust, at a cliche level, multiple cliche levels, boy does Mary Franson [yes her] look sound by comparison.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
This saddens me, as I wrote parts of this post that can be misread from my intention. First, when I say Sorensen posted and Gary Gross also posted, and this:

Sorensen's "lesser evil" post details how Nelson appears well able to make it under the bar set by Ms. Franson's legislative/election performances. Huffed over all the wrong things, it seems. Except, Franson had a narrow brush with defeat last election, snatching the seat as remaining hers per recount, and for the GOP one wonders whether that's a greater sin than SBA loan default; posting of the Laura Brod skivies photo, or other deviance from strict orthodoxy.

My intent was to suggest the GOP is huffed not over Franson's general performance, Gary Gross being an example where he says she is a favorite legislator of his. They are huffed over her almost losing a seat. I erred, as it might be read that I was saying Sorensen was "huffed," somehow wrongly.

WRONG. Dead wrong. A bad writing error on my part. Sorensen found and focused on something showing a bad aspect of Tea Party Gestalt, challenging its own people for not being pure enough by some hard to understand measure, since Franson and Nelson seem like two peas in a pod.

In a true sense I am mortified that I wrote something that could be read the wrong way.

The GOP per Nelson v Franson shoots at one another over negligible differences, while turning a blind eye to the Nienow situation and the fact that the Brod photo has to have been an internecine thing, not a DFL challenge of Brod.

I was not suggesting Sorensen was looking wrongly at the Nelson v Franson situation, or wrong in focusing upon it. She highlighted two GOP candidates with little difference sniping at one another, asking why, and I meant to say, moreover they snipe at each other while ignoring their worse inner-party contradictions while so posturing.

Next, a second thing that was simply very poorly written:

Sally Jo Sorensen's first post on Nelson v Franson sets out an entire statement, lengthy not pithy, in which Nelson boldly declares, "You all know me to be issue based, and with that I ask that we realize that the true threat to our freedoms is the march of liberalism and those ugly tentacles that would destroy our rural way of life, our families, and our economy." Gee. Ugly tentacles, okay.

To convey what I intended, I should have written:

Sally Jo Sorensen's first post on Nelson v Franson sets out a quote of an entire Nelson email statement, in which Nelson's email is lengthy not pithy, and in which Nelson boldly declares, "You all know me to be issue based, and with that I ask that we realize that the true threat to our freedoms is the march of liberalism and those ugly tentacles that would destroy our rural way of life, our families, and our economy." Gee. Ugly tentacles, okay.

Boy, I screwed up writing in a way that a reader might say I was aiming that criticism at Sorensen's work. No way would I want to say or imply that. She's a better writer than I am. How it is.

Again for crystal clarity: I was not and would not imply Sorensen's analysis and structuring her post was "lengthy not pithy" as that would be untrue. Yet the sorry way I wrote it might be read that way. The Nelson email is what was lengthy and not pithy. Read it. It is. Sorensen correctly posted it, and it speaks for itself.

So, correcting things as clearly as I can - Sorensen wrote two sequenced posts on Ms. Nelson, each of which was well written and gained my interest to try to see who Nelson is as a Tea Party and GOP leader in her part of Minnesota wanting to run against one who appears little different from Nelson and whose greatest sin to GOP folks there was almost losing an election; not any deviation from adherence to a Nelson-like world view.

Sorensen suggested Nelson might be a greater evil in the eyes of us who think differently than either Nelson or Franson, or that it's hard to call which of the two is a lesser evil. The observation was sound, and it was what got me wondering who Nelson is to be challenging Franson because Franson is a known entity statewide, and Nelson is not. Had Sorensen not written, Gary Gross would not have written, and I would have missed the issue. But for Sorensen's attention I had no notice of the quite interesting situation.

Another issue Sorensen has been on the leading edge is the fracking sand debate. I know nothing of it, and have hence not posted, but Sorensen deserves respect and honor for taking on the issue as well as she has.

BOTTOM LINE: Sorensen is an asset in Minnesota to those who think and read in Minnesota. Without her attention to things of interest to her, and her taking the time to write of them, many in the State would know less of things that are important politically.

I see how I wrote poorly, inexactly to a far too great degree, and there was nothing to do but publicly say so, and to clarify my belief, as sincerely as I can state it: Sorensen is an excellent writer, and her analysis of issues and choice of things to write of is also excellent.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
While Mary Franson is not one I would generally praise, in a Nelson v. Franson worldview juxtaposition, consider where the sounder perspective might exist in the context of this Strib item - medical marijuana in Minnesota. Or in terms of personal privacy from the reach of employer scrutiny or police data gathering. Franson's libertarian-flavored approach might be inferred from two City Pages posts, here and here. Nelson, the gun-bunny with a family history in narc law enforcement, is an unknown factor, and hard to guess even with what that background suggests. If this is to be an issue based contest, the position of each on such issues, showing libertarian vs authoritarian mindset, might be illuminating. Presuming either cares to get to such issues where disagreement might exist vs same-old same-old posturing by each on the "core" Republican base issues - where, not in that camp, I again could only guess there'd be a high congruence. With a split in the GOP between libertarian thinking and authoritarian Tea Party imposition of religion against the separation of church and state [e.g., Mary Kiffmeyer in the authoritarian camp], possibly Franson might be the lesser advocate of an authoritarian mindset, that way. It might be very refreshing if the two GOP candidates were to debate, and the local press and possibly statewide outlets were to give coverage. Right now it seems the Republicans are more into defining themselves and their range of membership than the DFL, in Minnesota. Progressives can be frustrated with the DFL camp's being the only real alternative they have, and with it being less progressive than it might well be. But DFL cohesiveness, despite that, now seems greater than in the GOP, making observation the GOP and its Angst more interesting to view and think about, from outside its ranks. The DFL, being more steady, is somewhat more boring. On a national level, having ones in the Dem camp such as Max Baucus, can make progressives puke.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Sue and Brian Nelson, three generations of public paid paychecks, and Tea Party? Go figure.

The feeding hand deserves a bite, or two? The nature of gratitude?

Running that gun business together. "Friday gun porn" posts and all. Latest, a "Radically Invasive Projectile" featured. That's R.I.P. for you, folks. And yup, the gunslinger website does note that.

click image to read
And -- WOW!! Look at that melon. If you intend to shoot and kill somebody, that's the latest and greatest round to load. Yes/no?

Back to biting the hand, since that galls. Shrink government but not police forces? Come on.

Brian, 35 years on public paychecks, per the headline here. Number one son, same life goal reported:

When Mac recently told his father [Brian Nelson] that he, too, wanted to enter law enforcement, Nelson did as his father had done years ago: He tried to talk his son out of it. The profession is characterized by unusual hours, physical and mental stressors and a high divorce rate, Nelson said. There’s also the fact that officers are often dealing with people at their worst.

Mac says some of his earliest memories are of his father’s absence during the Nelsons’ years in Washington County. Nelson’s narcotics job had him working at all hours and Mac remembers waking up some mornings to learn his father had been called away hours earlier. In one instance, Nelson was gone for a few days on a series of drug busts, his location unbeknownst to his family. During his patrol days, Nelson went years before spending Christmas Eve with his wife, Susan, who eventually signed a ride-along waiver so she could spend the day with her husband.

Those stories haven’t swayed Mac, who would one day like to work in narcotics.

As to attitude, reporting from a 2010 Perham Tea Party is:

PERHAM — A grassroots effort calling for less government spending and limited government involvement in Americans’ lives came to Perham last Friday.

An estimated 350 braved the icy roads and filed into the Perham Area Community Center for a Tea Party hosted by Heart of the Land Conservatives.

[...] “The Tea Party Friday night was a huge success on so many fronts,” said Sue Nelson. “It was a great turnout considering the weather; great response to the speakers and citizen participation, and a wonderful reflection of what the Tea Party movement is all about: a non-partisan gathering of individuals who are mobilized to bring attention to excessive government spending and taxation.”

[...] Nelson blames both Democrats and Republican politicians for creating big government.

“Big government is not the answer and it is high time we realize that, knock off the party crap and recognize first and foremost we are Americans and read the Constitution,” she said.

[...] Perham Police Chief Brian Nelson spoke about protecting Second Amendment rights, which is the right to keep and bear arms.

“I know we’re not supposed to be single issue voters, and I don’t think I am. But the one thing I do look at is how a candidate feels about the 2nd Amendment,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he uses where candidates stand on this issue as a barometer for whom he may support.

“This isn’t about guns. It’s about freedom. It’s about individual rights. It’s about trust and the liberties of people living in a free society.”

Wow, freedom, individual rights and liberties, a free society.

Young Mac wants to become a narc.

Anything else?

Well not that far apart, Alexandria and Perham, and one may expect the town police to know each other.

Does that factor at all, into this?

Franson says she had two drinks in three hours and was more than sober enough to drive herself home. But as she prepared to exit the bar and restaurant, something strange happened -- one of the employees began "interrogating" her about how she was going to get home and then began "laughing at [her] hysterically," according to Franson.

It seemed to Franson that she was being ridiculed, and as she left she had a strange premonition that employees might call the cops as part of an effort to "harass" her.

On her way home, she says she was followed by a cop for a bit, but wasn't pulled over. And that was that.

Or so she thought. [...]

Food for thought. Perhaps and perhaps not. It might be that for now Franson needs to move and act most cautiously. Somebody in her own party wants her legislative seat. Gunning for the seat, one could say.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
This is a hoot. Gretchen Hoffman, possibly others, started this sorry thing called "Heart of the Land Conservatives," with a legacy blog presence mission-values page. Note the footer, copyright 2009. Dilettante entry, inability or unwillingness to maintain an effort. But read that stuff. Global warming denial too.

Gretchen also affiliated a short-lived blog, also copyright 2009, here. Where the hoot comes in.

The last of Gretchen's three (3) posts before abandonment of the thing, is a guest post, by "Sue N."

From all the capitalization and multiple exclamation points, it has to be Sue Nelson. Her way, that way.

What is the hoot, besides the meandering repetition within the post, is how the thing has been comment spammed with nither Gretchen nor Sue N., caring a whit, here, e.g.:


I kid you not. So "focused" on the rhetoric I suppose, that a laughable spam infested comment thread was permitted.

Check out the link. Is this the legislative mind and quality to send to St. Paul? Even with Mary Franson there now? Credible at all? In your view?

P.S. I did a website capture/save, in case the thing is ever scrubbed from the Internet. It deserves preservation.

Hurt feelings, he did not seek us out and mea culpa, but today he was there, all's well that ends well.

Mr. Montana, Bronco buster, whatever term you'd use, Kurt Daudt smooths ruffled feathers, per Strib online reporting.

While the party locals had him there, I hope they asked whether he had received any SBA loans, and if so, were they being serviced. That would be due caution, given events. Perhaps that is what the esteemed collective meant, suitably encrypted, in questioning whether Daudt's leadership was "fiscal conservative" enough for their liking.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More on the Sean Nienow defaulted loan for fru-fru, a half million, for fru-fru.

Mindeman posting at mnpACT!, Here. Read it, no Crabgrass excerpt.

The public deserves to know the channel that this politician used to get his mits on the cash. Who greased skids when as that linked item and the commentators there note, legitimate non fru-fru businesses, many of long standing, were not easily getting SBA money. At all, not to mention to the tune of half a mil.

That was Bushco years, Pawlenty years, Nienow chum Bachmann in Congress, and --

Hummmm. In The News needs updating. No press release, for January 2014. Interestingly, the press picked up the news even absent a press release.

Rounding up posting links, even to the extent of being cumulative - here, this quote:


$3 billion in new government spending makes Minnesota’s budget the largest in state history

May 21, 2013

[...] "If you remember one thing about this legislative session, it’s that every hard working taxpayer will pay more in higher taxes for increased wasteful and inefficient government spending under the Democrats’ plan. Minnesotans deserve a budget that protects hardworking taxpayers, not abuses them," said Senator Nienow.

[...] Senator Nienow continued, "Why did the Democrat Majority raise $2.1 billion in new taxes to remedy a $627 million deficit? We can – and should- be doing a better job for taxpayers to make sure state government is more efficient and effective. We don’t need to spend more, we need to spend smarter."

SBA, yes, needed to spend smarter. There is little doubt there. Spent really dumb, giving the Nienows money.

Here, stating

This is the guy whose claim to fame is his “fiscal responsibility with the tax payers money”. He likes to preach about using “The same common sense money management used by families and businesses is also necessary with the state budget.”

Let's see. That would be sell the bonds, don't redeem them? Same post, continuing:

Nienow claims to be a “consultant” as his career, and he is named as “adviser” to “National Summer Camp Association” in an article on picking camps:

National Camp Association staff members such as Mr. Nienow offer free advice to any parent looking to choose a camp. A visit to puts the reader in touch with a variety of articles and tips on the camp-selection process.

Well, not exactly. A visit to now says:

The website you were trying to reach is temporarily unavailable.
Please check back soon.

If you are the owner of this website, please log in for additional
information or contact us as soon as possible.

Enough, and moving on - Sorensen who has a follow-up post to her earlier item on Nienow's loan default headlines a Nienow observation, "Federal money doesn't grow on trees!" Can you say, dork? Does the term fit?

Brian Lambert's Glean offers [link and bolding in original]:

At the PiPress, David Hanners takes a bite of the Sean Nienow story, saying: “In a civil complaint filed against the Cambridge Republican, the SBA says Nienow and his wife signed for a loan in January 2009, stopped making the $7,500-a-month payments 18 months later and now owe more than $748,337 when the principal, administrative costs and other amounts are tallied. … Records filed with the Minnesota secretary of state show the business was incorporated May 29, 2008, with 200,000 shares. … The January 2009 loan documents show the Nienows secured the loan with a deed of trust on their home in Cambridge. The real estate website values the four-bedroom, 114-year-old home at $128,873.” $128K to secure $748K! 2005 is back.

Tell me again, since repeating makes it more believable, the family was creditworthy and politics had nothing to do with that business plan, to those folks, with that collateral, in that amount. Sure. He, the wife, the eight kids; and what was the annual family income at the time of the loan?

Most importantly, what did they do with, where did they stash, all that money?

That's what needs some sunshine. Where did the money go?

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Well, silly questions there. He spent it on charity:

December 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm -- by State Sen. Sean Nienow

[...] Last week, while in Saint Paul for various advisory committee meetings, I was approached by a homeless man asking for money. In the hustle of a demanding life I was tempted to give him the money and keep walking on. Instead, I invited him to come with me to a nearby store, where I bought his lunch and visited with him. I bet I don’t have to tell you who was more blessed by the experience.

My family and I, along with many wonderful people, have been preparing for the performance of the play, “A Christmas Carol.” It has certainly been a reminder to all of us what this season is about. Many people find the holidays to be difficult. The loss of loved ones, jobs, or the reminder of past, painful memories can make this a difficult time of year for some. Kindness is a gift we can all give. It often seems to be a gift that gives so much more in return.

Have you read much that is any more pompous?

Buy a homeless man lunch. Deny it is a government responsibility, since, how do you pat yourself on the back by doing your job having government meet its responsibilities? Sean, you are so full of it that it's running out your ears.


The story makes it to the Finger Lakes region of New York, the area where Joe Smith dug up, translated, and reburied the gold tablets. Bet you did not know that. Around Ithaca, New York, Cornell University. Moroni helped. As a bonus, a trenchant comment to that post, so be sure to not overlook it.

NOW - Enough, on the pipsqueak. More than he merits.

That Bob Cull has a nice website. E.g., this. UPDATE: That site is not Cull's singular responsibility, but involves a number of like-minded posting persons - who may from time to time disagree with one another but in general are like-minded. In concept, it reminds me of MPP, MN Progressive Project, this site

_____________FINAL UPDATE_____________
Moving on from outrage at the brick mind of Nienow, and how he has dissipated taxpayer money in a possibly craven way but certainly foolishly, it is helpful to look at the big picture.

What is the duty of the U.S. Attorney, besides suing on the note? The answer seems clear. The U.S. Attorney and the SBA Inspector General need to both trace where the money went, but also to examine the genesis of it going as it did to Nienow; i.e., how this outrageous loan was ever made. The politics of it, which bank or SBA local consultant played what role, lift every rock and examine what's crawling under it since true fiscal conservatives and progressives have to agree: government failed big time, in this Sean Nienow adventure.

Next, part of the correct equation of what government is about, was there violation of any criminal statute? Did the Nienow family, in effect, defraud the government out of taxpayer money, and if so who should be punished? That question is apart from tightening lax procedures and purging politics from who gets SBA money and who gets denied (a question akin to the New Jersey Hoboken-Chris Christie scenario of how Hurricane Sandy money is or might have been criminally leveraged to favor some private real estate adventurer - developers, after all, being crabgrass).

After such seeking out of any crime in things and punishing it, an act ideally serving to deter other potential Nienow-type adveturers - the craven ones not the dumb-as-a-brick ones; what after that?

Pause, and sigh over how anyone could vote for the brick, and move on because dumbness in an electorate is a sin beyond salvation.

Last, there is a stable marriage, two spouses together in a modest home, who inadvisedly have placed eight more people on an overpopulated planet, but these are actual people, not less, living breathing folks whose basic needs do not differ from those of us who own sporting teams or have fortunes that have grown out of millinery retail business. Three squares and a flop, as the saying goes. That basic. Public schooling, so the children grow up as right minded citizens understanding of something useful, somehow, as opposed to only experiencing ineffectiveness in their childhood. The government owes them a safety net. Not another lump sum amount put at risk, that's a proven bad idea, but ongoing support simply as persons in need in a civil society where people are banded together into something we call government. It is not a responsibility of private charity. It is a government responsibility in what still is the most prosperous nation on earth to care for anyone in need, within that society. It is not for churches, nor for foundations to arbitrarily assume such a responsibility. If they care to help, they do good and merit praise for that, but any such situation does not disarm the actuality - government has a duty to the less fortunate within its reach and jurisdiction. That is a simple and fundamental truth of a welfare state; and anything less then a welfare state is an inhumane imposition. Anything that misuses taxpayer money from such a duty, to diversion on hare-brained adventuring by a brick, is in need of retuning.

But public shaming in this instance, a metaphorical cucking stool thing, IS clearly merited. Nienow needs all the disapprobation and scorn he may experience, for this abuse of governmental wealth. Both for how he postured, mainly that, but also for how he blew through or squirreled away a half million of taxpayer money while showing a distasteful lack of caritas toward gay people and those voting in ways he did not like, while being accorded a seat at the table of exercise of power. He misused the public trust in many ways. As a public figure, not as a private citizen. He shamelessly has issued a statement through his publicly funded office that his private SBA situation should be viewed apart from and independent of his handling a public trust. That is so clueless, so impossible to sell as in any way credible, that you can see how he thought the hare-brained business model would end up any differently than it did. He has no sense of - sense. People like that, especially when banded together and given a vote, are very dangerous. Dumb as a brick IS inherently dangerous. Nienow. Those who voted for him. Wow.

The rest of us deserve better.

SORRY. YET ONE MORE UPDATE: Nienow has a LinkedIn page. Among other stuff there, it indicates he is grouped and associated with MINNESOTA COMMONSENSE CONSERVATIVES. A google yields, among other stuff, that body's glaringly red homepage, a Blogspot free webpage that has been essentially moribund since 2012, wherein an October 2012 archive includes an endorsement, stating among other things -

Minnesota Senate (32) - Sean Nienow (R). I cannot think of a better representative to give his constituents a full understanding of what St Paul's "inside baseball" looks like. This man knows the way it works and has no problem pointing out the issues. A true champion for the tax payer. Sean fought tooth and nail against the wasteful spending in our state managed healthcare system. That alone deserve your vote.

[italics emphasis added] Have I already said enough about mental bricks supporting other bricks being a danger? Yes.

Or is that website guilty of a priority of propaganda, with craven disregard for truth?

Okay, end of post.

RAMSEY -- Today, city hall, 5:30 pm, work session, agenda link; commentary.

Agenda, online here.

p.49, a signature page, signed All Fools Day, 2011, by Heidi Nelson, then HRA staff liaison, and the then HRA chair. The signatures are all affected, so at a guess that was Colin McGlone, but the signature tells nothing that way. Signed one day before All Fools Day, and tendered, by ------ Darren Lazan.

This link. Also, here. Read the agenda for more context, Darren/Landform related, and see how there seems good reason for the City to sit tight and not contract with CBRE until July 1, 2014.

And -- there is TIF smoke and mirrors on the agenda too. Ehlers, still presenting stuff in obscure form and detail. Otherwise known as: continuity.

An interesting statistic, p.13 of the agenda (pdf document form as above linked), Flaherty's rented 87 units of the big ugly, out of 230, at this point in time. More than I had expected, less than I had hoped for, given that the city [i.e., taxpayers] invested in banking the thing, via the former council wearing their HRA hats, despite good sense suggesting not doing so. It has been done, so hope for the best. Ben is hoping that way.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King day thoughts turn to minimum wage. When shot, King was looking beyond purely racial issues, at labor reform, so the thought is appropriate.

It was the sanitation workers strike in Memphis that brought him there, at his peril, his knowing so, to his death, all that.

If you don't already know, here, here and here; and the "Poor People's Campaign" was formulated as a race-neutral look at poverty's evils - which did weigh more heavily in predominantly black communities but which grind as an unnecessary inhumane burden on all poverty sufferers.

It is troubling to see Minnesota's DFL foot dragging in the legislature. It is troubling to see Minnesota's organized labor bloc in the DFL more concerned selfishly rather than being in solidarity with all labor in ways that could expand a power base for lasting effectiveness. Lasting vs shrinking effectiveness.

Card check is fine and all, but what about minimum wages, guys and gals in OL? Get with an expanded agenda, please.

Recently, days ago in Minnesota, this online press opinion:

On Jan. 1, more than 2.5 million low-paid workers throughout the country got a raise. Unfortunately, none of these workers lives in Minnesota.

Thanks to minimum-wage increases that took effect on New Year’s Day in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, those who do the hard work of cleaning office buildings, serving food, and providing care for the elderly received a modest pay raise.

Four of these states — New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island — approved minimum-wage increases last year while the remaining nine were the result of states adopting a key policy reform known as “indexing,” which calls for automatic minimum wage increases each year to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

Last spring, Minnesota had the chance to join these 13 states by passing legislation to raise the minimum wage, currently stuck at the federal level of $7.25 per hour, or $15,000 for a full-time, year-round worker. Legislation in the Minnesota House also would have established automatic annual increases so the state’s minimum wage would keep pace with the rising cost of living.

When lawmakers return to St. Paul in late February for the next legislative session, they would do well to reflect on the opportunity our state missed by failing to pass a minimum-wage increase last year.

Those are opening paragraphs, so read it all, again, here.


Next, don't think small. Think better and bigger.

In Seattle, for an example that should shame the small-step incrementalists within Minnesota, this report, stating in part:

Socialist Alternative activists, fresh off City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s election, passed out fliers and signs in an effort to build a mass movement for raising Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

At the time of his death, King was fighting for higher wages, said Philip Locker, a political organizer with the Socialist Alternatives and leader in the 15 Now campaign.

“He understood that if you want to stop racism, you have to abolish poverty,” Locker said.

Inside the gymnasium, Black Panther Party founder Aaron Dixon gave a keynote address that urged people to honor King by considering which causes he would be fighting for if he were alive today.

“We are at a very critical point in America and a very critical point in the world,” Dixon said. “Anybody who is oppressed is our friend. We gotta find common cause.”

Incrementalism should be made a thing of the past. Bold approaches are best. A 15 Now campaign would resonate in much of Minnesota. The term livable wage should not be cheapened to where "livable" means bare subsistence with government help required to make ends meet. It should mean living in decent comfort, in exchange for daily labor in sometimes difficult situations. The boss can be an a**hole, but if tolerated, the indignity of too low a wage should not be adding insult to injury.

Organized labor, pitch in or be left behind in shrinking numbers moving inexorably to irrelevance and powerlessness when ALEC and allies gain strength enough to take you out, and you lack the solidarity and support of those you now ignore.

That might not be entirely a scenario which organized labor leadership wants, but it is how it is.

Like the Panther guy said in Seattle, you gotta find common cause.

As in "think small," there is this. &9.50 is not much. It is below building trade money; AFSCME money; teacher money. It's hard even for individuals alone to cut it, on $9.50 an hour. Yes, better than the presently applicable minimum wage. But if you are putting in an effort, aim higher.

Here, and here. From the last linked item, this screen capture, below. You decide, is it tokenism, or a studied view of reality; achievability vs. optimal? It just seems low, is all.